Peace seems to be in short supply these days. Competing interests, opposing policies and differing opinions have left this little globe called Earth more tightly wound than ever before. Whether it is the fear of Islamic terrorism, the fear of those reacting harshly to the threat of Islamic terrorism, or the fear of those covering said threats of Islamic terrorism, we as a nation, as a world, are generally fearful.
But it is not just terrorism that has people on the edge of their seats in this theater of life. Questions over possible food shortages, climate changes, the economy, and feuding late night talk show hosts have combined to create a state of fear as big as Alaska with the same dysfunctional politicians.
Collective fears have even driven millions of Americans who usually patronize Starbucks and Arby’s to switch their allegiance to the Tea Room, at least while it is politically convenient.
But rather than become the child cowering in the corner out of fear, we as a nation have transformed into the bully who, unwilling to admit his own fear and insecurities, picks up a club and wields it against those seemingly more secure.
We do so until the world is left a teetering, intoxicated little place where fear is packaged and sold as easily as half-cooked Chicken McNuggets.
The only difference is that in this happy meal, in place of a toy and fries, there’s a religious text and a loudspeaker.
So how do we, once again, restore the order that our beloved deities and self-canonized politicians would prefer for us? By colonizing Mars? No.
By holding a film festival in which we can all view the causes and effects of peace, and the places in which aforementioned peace is most threatened and in dire need.
The Global Peace Film Festival is in its eighth year and, like previous years, will take place almost entirely on the Rollins campus and in the Winter Park community.
The festival, founded by Nina Streich, begins on our beautiful campus lawn Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. with a screening of “Throw Down Your Heart,” a film that has more to do with the cross cultural journey of a banjo than with any actual organ throwing.
All the requisite, and well regarded, films are at the festival. Want to better understand what is going on behind the borders in Israel and Palestine? Check out the award-winning documentary “Budrus” about a Palestinian community organizer with a presidential run forthcoming. His success is contingent upon the establishment of a state, not to mention the presentation of a valid birth certificate. Curious to understand what a world without fish would look like, without having to wait until 2048? Then how about the British-made documentary “The End of the Line”? Want to watch a documentary film that reveals “the human face of climate change”? (*Spoiler Alert!* According to the poster, it is blue with striking green eyes and a map of the world imprinted on it… like the 30 Seconds to Mars song.) “Climate Refugees,” then, is your cup of tea, or coffee, depending on your taste … and sanity.
Like the recent splurge of yogurt shops, there really is something here for everyone! There are documentaries exploring issues as diverse and controversial as gerrymandering, immigration, oil companies and child prostitution, though hopefully that last one is not so controversial. The point is, even if you are not a bandana-wearing, pot-smoking, finger-toting hippie, peace and the advocacy of peace, while seemingly a foreign concept as of late, is nevertheless not just a groovy idea, but a good one.
Besides, if Taylor Swift and Kanye West can find a way to come together, then the solution to Israel/Palestine, oil shortages, organ throwing, world hunger, and the imminent extinction of seafood are all within reach! I hope you will come and join me Tuesday on the beautifully well-watered Mills lawn to help usher in a new era of peace and understanding–or at least to watch some really good films.