February 24, 2012
By Matt Palmer
Yesterday I wrote about my experiences teaching grade 5/6 students over the last five years. One of my goals is always to inspire kids to be positive and to be critical viewers and thinkers. As they make their films I urge them to look for multiple opinions or ways of looking at a story.
One of the films I have shown clips from in the last couple of years is “Fierce Light: Where Spirit Meets Action” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh5Qvv3UIEg)by Vancouver filmmaker Velcrow Ripper. It is a powerful film that explores spirituality and various activist movements. The film speaks to me on a number of levels, but what I love to explore and think about is the irony that often exists within activism, and the way that activists sometime go about achieving their goals. The irony for me is in how extreme anger is expressed and acted on towards others in the name of affecting societal change.
Democracy is messy. Most people who protest against various causes are not violent. In their hearts their intention is to bring change, and that may mean putting themselves in harm’s way, or risking arrest. The Civil Rights Movement got ugly and unpleasant, but it was mostly a peaceful protest on the part of the activists. Think of where society would be if people had not stood up for what they believed in.
As we live through this moment in time when activism plays a significant role in the building (or not building) of major energy infrastructure projects, it is worthwhile to examine the role the activism plays. This an area ripe for discussion and debate. Some might say the two sides are far apart and debate is not possible, but the true leaders will find a way. We need to find our common dream, our shared vision for the moment and the future.
You can find “Fierce Light” on iTunes. It is a very worthwhile film to watch. One of my favourite clips I show my students is about 2/3 of the way through the film about the Luna Tree Sit.