As a teacher, I always felt that it wasn’t enough just to be current and well-versed in my own subject area; I therefore made it a point to read as much as possible, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as to keep current with national and international events through the Globe and Mail. Of course, as anyone in education knows, time was always my greatest enemy. How does one keep engaged in the community and the world when there are the demands that we place on ourselves as classroom teachers, not the least of which is to return assignments in a reasonably timely fashion?
Even though I am now retired and in a much better position time wise (at least in theory) to read as much as I want to, lately I have been exploring the world of documentaries which, at the very least, seem a relatively time efficient way to expand one’s knowledge and open up a variety of avenues for further inquiry. One that I recently watched and recommend is Scared Sacred, by Canadian filmmaker Velcro ipper. The film’s basic goal is to determine if and how people can respond positively to tragedy. To answer this question, Ripper traveled to parts of the world all too well-known for their share of tragedy: Bhopal, India, the killing fields of Cambodia, Bosnia, Hiroshima, Afghanistan, ground zero in New York, Israel and Palestine.
What Ripper discovers is that some people are able to overcome the natural impulse to simply sink into bitterness and despair, seeking revenge, and instead try to turn the tragedies of their lives into something positive. The underlying idea is that catastrophe, no matter how great, offers the opportunity to recognize the common elements of humanity we all share. With that recognition comes the opportunity for reconciliation and renewal.
You can find out more information about the film