I just watched, what is safe to say, the scariest movie I have ever seen in my life. Sunshine isn't the kind of movie title that would hint at a doomed space mission, gory deaths and a crazed captain. And yet it brought all of that- and more. I wasn't frightened by the flash scenes or moments that made me jump. That's the kind of fear that you laugh at yourself for moments after spilling your popcorn all over your date. What managed to seep into my mind and remain there, even now, one hour after coming home from the theater, was the backdrop: space.

The vast un-ending and, therefore, unimaginable thing that is outer space. Not even the blackness was creepy, for there was plenty of blinding white scenes to counter that. It was merely the infinite stars, planets, and unknowns that kept my mind reeling and my heart pounding.

For some people, these jitters are irrational. Beyond earth is just a conglomeration of more land and gas masses that float in some kind of cold soup. And the fact that it goes on forever doesn't need to be understood- who cares and who thinks about it? But I think it extends beyond space and into our psyche.

There is a prevalent fear in our society of the unknown and incomprehensible. This includes people and their behaviours, world catastrophes, and death. Death is the most important as it eludes us every time. There are no doctors, psychologists or examiners in this field that can explain exactly what happens after death. There are theories and hopes, but no facts. This scares people because there is nothing to compare it to; no past experiences can render any hint at what to expect. It's also frightening because it's eternal. Nothing on earth is never-ending, everything always comes to a conclusion. The human mind can not even imagine what forever would be, not theoretically and not when it comes to a more physical environment like space. We can understand the idea of forever, but we can't grasp the full picture: what it would be like to exist in it or see it.

I argue that the dread towards the everlasting can clearly be shown in stats of the percentage of church goers before, during, and after 9/11. Individuals flocked to holy institutions, either renewing their faith or suddenly feeling inclined to have faith. Many felt that the world was ending and this was the final symbol before God would descend onto earth. It would be hard not to believe that if deeply affected by the attacks. The smoke, fire, and chaos would fuel any doomsday theory. Some believed that it was all predicted by Nostradamus and it was a sign that his following predictions were true, as well. It ends with the world dying, if you are interested.

So people were scared for their lives and about something else. The resounding question seemed to be, if I die, what will be next? Will I just stop there, my mind gone and my body useless- no more thought patterns coming out of me- simply hit a big blank wall? To deny the eternal nothing would mean to want something more. Individuals hoped for something more and this hope led them to the church. The amount of worshipers would soon return to normal levels once things calmed down and people could push the idea of eternity to the back of their minds.

But it's always there. One only has to look up to the sky at night to regain that sense of foreboding.

I'm never seeing another space movie again.


So Sick

Being subjected to an entire day lying in bed isn't so pleasant when you're having cold sweats and are unable to breathe through your nose. Air can't come in but stuff definately comes out. So Once I was bored of sleeping- yes, it can happen- I got up to flick through the tele and see if anything could drag my attention away from my sickness. I found something by chance: a documentary about one of the organizers of the deathcamps in Nazi Germany being helped and safe-guarded by Ireland and the church. Can you imagine a room full of cardinals and bishops doing the Nazi salute? The program had several pictures to help my imagination.
I guess Christians were very anti-Jewish at the time, even though they address basically the same God. Now before any Christian or Jewish fundamentalists can get all up in my grill and point out the exact differences in belief, the religions are much closer than, for example, Christianity and Islam or Judaism and Taoism. Many of their core teachings are the same and let's not forget, we're all people on this earth.
What makes an entire group of people hate and want to commit unsepakable humanitary crimes against another community? The church seemed to think that it was all about God, that this was a repetition of the Crusades. It sounds alot like them, a peoples falling to the will of God; being almost completely wiped out for the sake of differing religions and in beliefs. That's how they must have justified it, by convincing themselves of the righteousness of the deathcamps and how so many children should be imprisoned for their false and heretic beliefs. I wonder what the church might say now if given the opportunity to explain their aid of Nazis, especially ones so pivitol to this group's power.
Althought the documentary was informative, the key questions that I had went largely unanswered. But these are more philosophical questions, maybe even biological, the I have always asked when the subject of the holocaust comes up. How was it possible for this to happen unabated for so long? In historical texts and in records, it seems as if the rest of the world just turned its back to the suffering to millions of people.
After the war, the Allied liberators were shocked at the treatment of Jews in the concentration camps. Many of them were traumatized for months and some for the rest of their lives. It must have been even harder to look into the eyes of these starving and battered individuals and come home to a comfortable lifestyle, knowing that your country was not doing anything to help these disenfranchised people.
What must have went through the minds of Hitler's forces when they inflicted tortures upon people of all ages and even burned some alive? It horrifies me that individuals can be so cruel and, for a lack of a better word, evil. To think that a well-known organization had such a large role in harbouring war criminals only makes the situation worse. The church has millions of followers world-wide, people who put their faith in the actions of this community because they feel that it represents Christ. But even for someone who has read the bible from a normal individual's point of view, I never found any mention of Jesus killing a Jewish person. There is also no mention of inflicting horrors upon every woman, man, and child who chooses not to believe in Him. Did I miss something?
And yet Christianity remains a powerful entity in our society. Past sins seem to have been either forgiven, forgotten, or both, by its believers. It scares me to think how much influence the Christian church has over everything from our government to media.
Now excuse me while I look up religion conspiracy theories.


Priests in California Child Molestors

And the church finally addressed the issue today after being slapped with a 660 million dollar lawsuit by hundreds of people accusing several priests in the area of abuse. In the documentary "Deliver us from Evil", it's estimated that 10% of all graduating priests are pedophiles. And they calculated this from the number of abuse cases that were actually recorded. Many abused people never come forward. They often feel ashamed or blame it on themselves.
The chuch would have to either confront the issue head-on or pay up the 660 million dollars to the victims. Of course they chose the money and stayed mum. They would, after all, have alot of explaining to do. Literally hundreds of cases have been swept under the rug and forgotten by the church- bu the victims will never forget. What is going on with all of the cases that have been reported to the church? Are the offending religious officials still in power and working with people? If past cases are any indication, the answer is yes.


Do the Scarf Thing

To many, the dark scarves with the checkerboard pattern that "hip" youth are never caught without these days is just another fashion trend. But to others, it represents something else entirely. The accessory in question is the Palestinian head scarf (keffiyeh). It’s worn around the neck here and sold by the dozens in a plethora of colours at your local Urban Behaviour. Teens and young adults don it as a fashion statement. The earliest adopters wore it as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian people. In the middle east, the keffiyeh is used like a baseball cap here- it keeps out the sun, heat, and that pesky sand. It has no religious, political, or ethnic affiliation."It doesn't mean anything over there", claims Ali, a Pakistani familiar with the garment. It is only because the design is synonimous with that part of the world that it has been adopted by Canadian peace-demanding protesters and supporters of Palestine. Yaser Arafat, the former Palestinian leader, was often identified in the media by his keffiyeh.
In the West, people are divided on whether the garment has any significance at all. A mode of rebellion that was quickly adopted by the mainstream- sounds a lot like grunge. Others tie one on because it looks cool. These are the kids who would wear a KKK shirt if it was in Seventeen. Still others maintain that it is a symbol of support for Pakistan’s efforts. No one seems to realize that wearing a keffiyeh can be seen as misappropriating a differnt culture. The wearer is knowingly or unknowingly using a foreign garment to identify an entire group of people. Can anyone say orientalism? You don’t see a single native rights protestor enveloped in a feather headdress or wearing beaded moccasins everyday because they choose that item to represent native culture.Many ambitious bloggers, however, claim that it is a garment of terrorism.
For over fifty years, Palestinian territory has been occupied by Israeli people. Not only by forces, but families, as well. Yaser rightfully wanted that territory back for his people- and took every opportunity to claim it. Although his tactics have often been deemed extreme and violent, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. An award offered to a man who had yearned all his life to reclaim his people's territory. This isn't how the Israelis see it. Many argue that he was nothing more than a terrorist. This thinking disregards the real effort he made later in his life on reaching a peace agreement with Israel.
With all of the debate around it, we will surely catch more of that familiar scarf. On every street in the city. For a long time to come.