This morning, quite early, I watched two online (and free!) documentaries on PBS Frontline. The first was on euthanasia, titled ‘The Suicide Tourist‘. The second was on the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Haiti, titled simply ‘the Quake‘, which you can check out below:
Both are on quite somber topics. Both engender serious reflection upon the audience. What better to watch on a rainy day?
Without taking away from one or passing judgment on either, in a kind of sickly fashion, I will strictly remark on how completely opposite the two realities were from each other. To use the phrase ‘stark contrast’ would be an understatement. While both touch on human issues, it brings to question how closely ‘we’ coexist.
The real gut-wrenching moment when I mentally compared two scenes from the two different documentaries: a man with a terminal disease ride through a picturesque looking town in Switzerland on his way to end his life; and thousands of half-starved, injured, shells of human beings struggling to find basic life-giving essentials such as water, sometimes even fighting each other in the process.
My thoughts even drifted to the audacity of the makers of these documentaries, them being one and the same, able to dissociatively float in and out of these polar extremes. Can one feign objectivity? Does objectivity exist?
Something tells me that humanity must compartmentalize, disassociate, and differ lest one be stretched so thin as to snap out of sanity.
Having taken French in university, we studied various French-associated cultures, including that of Haiti. The country is not a complete enigma to me. Also dusting off the cobwebs of the mind I remembered a book offered by a friend on the topic of clinics in Haiti and the efforts of a man trying to make a difference. It was not altogether surprising to see this man-from-the-book now working with the UN in the relief effort beside former President Bill Clinton in the documentary. Do I have a point in mentioning these facts? Perhaps only that everything is all connected in some vague fashion. Usually this doesn’t mean much on a day-to-day basis. But should it?
To be honest, I also watched an MIT lecture titled ‘Rebuilding Haiti’, totaling three videos for the day. (Geesh! Where do you find the time?!? Er… I was up at 3am for some reason…) This one was about two hours, but quite interesting. Four speakers presented what, in the views, might help the people of Haiti, each coming from a different perspective. If you feel like wrinkling your brain, feel free to watch below: