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Rest Day Ruminations: Films & Speeches
Why is it called a rest day when many of us are working?
Here’s a Rest Day Ruminations post. Thank you to my lovely paying subscribers who make some of the posts open to all, as with this one.
First, the films.
I watched this last night. A really impressive debut: well scored, shot, acted and plotted. In particular, Robyn Nevin as the elderly matriarch was incredible: her gaze is always so mesmerising, as it alternated between suspicion, compassion, and fear, but always with intensity. You can watch it on Iplayer. There’s a good review on The Guardian (but spoilers). Highly recommended.
I’m interested in how stories interconnect (intentionally or not), and to me there is a ghost of a connection with the Backrooms legend. If you don’t know what that is, watch these short films.
What’s the best horror film you’ve seen this year? Feel free to tell us about it.
I’ve been attending the weekly peace vigils for Palestine in my adopted hometown. The numbers grow every week, calling for an end to the genocide. Yesterday I rushed from work without a chance to eat properly so I could attend, and I ended up with the mic in my hand giving a short speech about how, as a writer, I care a lot about how words are used and abused by the government. The speech was off-the-cuff with no notes, so I can’t reproduce it here, but instead here’s a letter I wrote this week which includes many similar points.
Democracy is the people.
Each week I've attended the peaceful demonstrations in the heart of Dumfries, calling for an end to the murder of Palestinians. I have been heartened to see so many people coming together, whose only concern is justice. Around me were Jews, Christians, atheists, Muslims, Pagans, and every other type of people who the current UK government would like to persuade us are enemies and full of hate, but in reality are humans united by despair at the way our government (and the US government) will go to any lengths to support and profit from bloodshed while civilians and children are buried under rubble.
The government tries to claim this is about hate but all I have experienced at demonstrations is respect and compassion. I have witnessed people standing up for what they believe in, and daring to request that most dangerous and controversial of things: peace. This is not about religion. And that's why there are so many different voices, backgrounds and belief systems uniting, despite all the state opposition. Because normal people want cooperation, and peace to get on with their lives, and a feeling that there is justice in the world, and a connection with their neighbours.
Politicians want none of that, apparently. I haven't seen any of our politicians coming to the demonstrations to speak to peace campaigners and get their perspective. They haven't agreed to represent Scots who don't support genocide (it isn't a war when it's just one side endlessly pummelling civilian areas with hi-tech weaponry supplied by the UK and US). Alister Jack MP has not even replied to my two letters about this. I suppose when you own multiple business and are worth £20 million (according to Wikipedia) it's hard to see things from the perspective of normal people. His fellow politician Oliver Mundell MSP did reply, though just repeated the Conservative Party line without realising its hypocrisy. He told me he "supports the position of the UK Government" and he "would hope my own government would seek to protect me and my family if we were attacked". But Israel has been in breach of international law and numerous UN resolutions for decades as it illegally occupied and expanded into Palestinian land, implementing a form of apartheid against Palestinians. Just as we'd hope we were protected if Russia invaded the UK, we should also hope that we'd be protected if any other country tried to occupy us as Israel has done with Palestine. The irony is that Mundell is actually supporting the illegally occupying force.
A government does not represent the people. In most cases, due to how voting works, more people voted against it than for it. Even in the 2019 UK election the Conservatives in power only got 13.9 million votes - the UK had more than 49 million registered voters (ONS stats), meaning more than 70% of UK citizens did NOT vote for them. It's worth remembering this fact about a system that currently doesn't seem very democratic at all. And so the Russian government's actions in Ukraine this year have been reprehensible; but not all Russian people support that. The Israeli government has continued the illegal oppression began decades ago: but that government does not represent all Israelis (and certainly not all Jews). And the UK government does not represent all UK residents (and certainly not all Scots, as history has shown). It is legitimate to criticise governments when they act in evil and self-serving ways. To do so is our responsibility.
So when we have a government that ignores us and supports bloodshed, which demonises UK residents in language reversals worthy of George Orwell's Ministry of Hate and doublethink Newspeak, I wonder what true democracy – one that respected life and freedom – would look like. Until then the only democracy you'll find is from our individual actions. Who we vote for; where we spend our money; what letters we write; what we say; and how we support our brothers and sisters, near and far. This is not hate. It is mutual support in the face of greedy power.
Peace and love my friends, I hope the next week is a wonderful one for you.
Today I spotted that they had published my letter in at least one of the newspapers.