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Editorial March 2003
Living in Interesting Times

Well here we are living in interesting times again.
Curiously, as I write this there is a bright silver dollar full moon in the sky and I wonder in G.W. Bush has an astrologer staring at the same sky. Is it good for go or are their hidden warnings in such a clear sky? What do the runes say?
Is March a good time to die?

The Pianist wins Oscar™ for best Director and Best Actor and more 24.03
Polanski is still making films and this is his best for years.Perfect timing. War is all about intolerance and survival. Adrien Brody deserves his best actor award.(And his impassioned acceptance speech was the highlight of the Oscar broadcast - in genuine contrast to Michael Moore's fevered remarks when accapting his for Best Documentary. Go and see ‘The Pianist’ and see what happens when hatred and propaganda make it legitimate to treat other people as sub-human or vermin, only good for extermination. The film is disturbing, the images on the screen of the devastation of Warsaw astonishing, the most horrific depiction of the worst that war can do to a city and its people. The performances are remarkable because at all times they think ‘this is the worst it can get’, never guessing, even to the moment they are put on the cattle cars to Treblinka that they are inevitably doomed. The message of the holocaust is that we can never forget.

Last week we saw a small French film called ‘Swing, directed by Tony Gatliffe, about a young boy on vacation in Alsace, France, who falls in love with the sound of gypsy guitar and the gypsy people living on the wrong side of town. Tchavolo Schmitt and Mandino Reinhardt lighting up the screen with their astonishing guitar playing in the Django Reinhardt style. It’s a sweet story about the power of music and sweet young love.
The old gypsy grandmother, silent throughout most of the film, casually mentions to the boy about her youth, when she was his age, being rounded up by the Nazis and herded into the death camps. She and her brother are the only ones who survived out of a whole community. It’s an astonishing moment because of its stark truth and unexpectedness in such a ‘cute’ film.

‘The Pianist’ is about events that happened in 1939 to 1945 and the survival of one man in catastrophic circumstances. Swing, made in our present day, reminds us of the enormous crack in time that horrific event rendered on our society. The world is still full of displaced people from the Second World War. A German film, ‘Nowhere in Africa’ is coming to Canadian cinemas soon (and won best foreign movie in the Oscars) This this tells about German Jews fleeing to Nairobi ahead of the Nazis. Many fled, the lucky ones got to America or South Africa. People ask, why didn’t they all flee? The Pianist reminds of why not. No one could imagine the unimaginable. Indeed, they asked themselves, why should we be forced to leave our homes and possessions we have paid for. No one, but those who planned the ‘Final Solution’, knew what was to come, but the hatred and the state promoted intolerance of ‘Jews’ prepared the way well. A nation within a nation disappeared and no one (but a few) cared.

The Holocaust isn’t going away. The last of those who survived may indeed be thinning out now, but they had children and they too have had children - they forget at their peril. The aftershocks in the shape of these films and Serbian tyrants and murderers who think ethnic cleansing is a ‘good idea’ are still very much around.

As we start another war against another tyrant we must heed the lessons of history and prepare for peace and healing.

Now we have had almost a week of war in Iraq. The tragedies seem to be the mistakes of war. Friendly fire bringing down a British jet, helicopters colliding killing the crews. It reminds us that war is the best training for war and perhaps they will learn from this. As for Baghdad. I was trying to image what 1300 cruise missiles would look like landing on Vancouver in one day last night.
Take a look at your city and try to imagine the same. 1300 explosive cruise missiles, hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs, a veritable 'bliztkrieg'. I looked at Vancouver and decided that ten missiles would probably do the job pretty well. 1300 is just so horrific you can't image the horror that the people living in this Iragi captial city must be going through.

I hope that this Sunday you have prayed for it to end and peace to come swiftly. I also hope that the USA will be there to pick up the pieces when it is all over.

© Sam North
March 24th 2003

This month in a rolling edition of Hacks:
An excellent month with new fiction and articles from Malina Saval, James Campion, Colin Todhunter, Dean Ruetzler, Joe Sinclair, Ian Middleton, Justin Jacob, Heather Neale,Tim Pile, Jeffry Beyl, Kira Isak Pirofski, James Skinner, Alex Grant, Sam North and more to come. We cover world journeys, reviews, comments , new fiction and the movies.
A genuine International Hackwriters edition

Previous Editorials:

Renting in Kits

Winter Escape to the UK
Hacks takes a break
What will you seeing at the movies? November
'The city where everyone gets to live a millionaire lifestyle'
It’s SECTION 9 in the N.Y. Sunday Times
A cornucopia - October
The Kids stay in the picture- August
Hacks visits the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma- August
Hot Sweats in a Cold Read at the Anza Club- August
LIFE ON FAST FORWARD - Vancouver on speed -September
SweetSista'Shorts Carousel Theatre- Granville Island - Off Fringe
Arts in the Community is for real -
Time to enrol
Vancouver Film Festival Trade Show report


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