Humanity – and freedom

12 Years A Slave.

The movie came out a while back and I always wanted to watch it. Finally found the time to watch it online today. I found the plot a bit disjointed and a few transitions here and there rather abrupt but it was still a movie worth watching.

It captured the essence of slavery and the ruthlessness and brutality of man. The fear and unjust that the slaves deal with. The inability to openly speak their mind and proclaim their freedom. The unmerciful and heartless masters. To think that this was a personal recount of man named Solomon scares me. He was one of the lucky few who managed to escape. What about the others who worked to their deaths?

I can never understand how people can be so inhumane. Are these people we deem inferior any less human than we are?

I may not know much about what is happening around the world (which is embarrassing), but I would like to believe that there are still slave trades happening. What saddens me more is that even in my own country, girls are sold as sex slaves. Unfortunate but it is the truth. My heart goes out to them. Being a girl myself, I understand how it feels like to lose respect of yourself and your body. To be forced into sleeping with strangers day in and day out. Even you yourself will no longer be able to look yourself in the eye. Loss of dignity and growing numbness to the world. Degraded from a being to an object.

If only I could do something to make a difference.

Thought provoking movies like this never fail to make me reflect on my life.

All my incessant whines about not having enough freedom and space fade pale in comparison to the slaves who have their identities stripped of from them. All my complaints about being unfairly treated seem insignificant as compared to the salves who are being treated like animals or properties.

Perhaps I should be less concerned about these petty little “unjust” and spend more time wondering about how I can make a difference in this pathetic world. One me might not make much of a difference. But one me might just be all that they have got.

All that change the world ambitions aside, this movie has, well, made me wonder if Thomas Hobbes was really right when he said that humans are inherently evil and pursue their own self-interest relentlessly, mechanically avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. Perhaps being the dominant species on Earth has caused us to adopt a superior persona. Perhaps our survival instincts are the main reason for our self-centred tendencies.

Whether or not that is true, I still want to believe that there is some good in everyone. I do not really think we are inherently good because when we are desperate, it is human nature to look out for yourself first. However, I do believe that there is some humans side to the most inhumane person. I like to believe that people turn ruthless and merciless because of unfortunate circumstances. If we could miraculously manage to help them let go of the hurt and hatred from the past, we just might be able to make them a better person. I know this sounds naive and far-fetched but it is what I genuinely feel for and believe.

I suppose you can say this is the basis of my caring and understanding nature. Perhaps this is why I can never actually truly gave up on anyone. Perhaps this why I always get taken advantage of. Admittedly, this is also partly the reason why I have a hard time trusting people. But if you ask me, given a choice, would I change the way I am, I would not. Because despite the number of times humanity has let me down, I have faith that someday, someone will be able to help unlock those secrets and change the cold hearted to the warm hearted.

Maybe just someday, my wishful thinking will come true.

“What difference is there in the color of the soul?”

~ Solomon Northup


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