20 January 2013

world of joy and suffering

Last night, I watched the film City of Joy. It's not hard to watch Pauline Collins, Patrick Swayze, and Art Malik in a film but the story is tough. The City of Joy is a clinic run by Sister Joan (Collins) in the slums of Calcutta. Patrick Swayze plays Doctor Max who is troubled by his doctoring career and childhood memories. The clinic is targeted by the gang led by the godfather and his son (Malik). The film circles around the fate of a rickshaw runner and his family. The film has a bit of a Hollywood feel but is a heartbreaker and tearjerker with an optimistic ending. Sometimes I wish that I had chosen a life path which was more directly related to helping the needy. At the same time, I recognize that my talent for cataloging and indexing is perhaps more helpful as an income source so that I can donate to American Friends Service Committee or Doctors Without Borders.

City of Joy includes an episode in which a young woman who lives and helps at the clinic is attacked by the gang and her mouth and cheeks are razored. She is patched up by Doctor Max. In today's New York Times, there is an article about a real life case of a young Afghan woman who was axed by her brother because he believed she had run away with a man to whom she was not married. As the title of the article says, the "scars are [the] sole testimony to 'honor' victim's ordeal." What a testimony.

All of these thoughts swirl through my brain and heart and soul as I live in the relative luxury of middle-class America. Sometimes I wonder how we can get from one day to the next.

The picture is from the IMDb page for City of Joy.

P.S. It could be that I was set up by a fine rendition of "We shall overcome" at church on Sabbath morning. Thoughts of Martin Luther King and his legacy.

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