Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train

We watched this documentary in the house church a few weeks back, and I thought it was fascinating stuff. The movie basically documents the life of Howard Zinn, who is now a history professor at Harvard. Zinn is probably best known for his book, A People's History of the United States of America, which I strongly recommend reading. My review of that book is here. In addition to being a professor and a writer, Zinn was also a major player in the Civil Rights Movement and the movement against the Vietnam War. He continues his activism today, continually speaking out against injustice and war.

I recommend this documentary because of the great pearls Zinn drops in the movie. Although not in these words, Zinn argues that there are two types of people in this world: oppressors and those who are being oppressed. You are either in one group or the other, and by not saying or doing anything to help the oppressed you are, by default, going along with the oppressors.

I find this argument to be a great challenge because I find myself, along with just about everyone else I know, to be in a group that is not exactly oppressed, but is also not exactly in a position of power to oppress others. It is disturbing to think that ignorance or non-action could be a silent form of evil.

I will end with a good quote from the movie:

“When one person kills another person, that is Murder; but if a government kills 100,000 persons, that is Patriotism. And they’ll say we’re disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we’re disturbing the war!”

1 comment:

George Linney (aka Monk) said...

Todd, Great blog, particularly this post on war/murder. Glad I found it. Take care. George