War Dance

It’s well past midnight and I can’t sleep.

I watched War Dance with my siblings tonight.

It’s the story of three children from the displaced Acholi tribe who have redisovered home in a refugee camp. Their people have been systematically hunted by the rebel forces in Uganda. Their eyes have seen atrocities, their souls bare the scars. They have seen people killed and they themselves have killed. Their smooth faces belie the raw emotions they have to deal with on a daily basis. They have more control over their features than many adults.

The documentary shows the children as they prepare and go to the National Music Convention in Kampala.  You hear their stories. See the places where their atrocities occured. Watch as they weep for what they lost. At times, you will want to weep with them. I did. There weren’t many dry eyes in my house.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on AIDS and Africa lately. It’s depressing and fascinating at the same time. The world is hurting. Death and disease are intertwined with so many different parts of culture. There are no easy answers. No campaign promises that will fix everything by the next election. No microwavable solution that will be ready in 30 seconds or less. There’s just pain. There’s regret. There is sin and plenty of sadness.

I did cry while watching the documentary tonight. I think Jesus would have cried to. It sounds cliched and sappy, I know, but that doesn’t change my feeling any less. The world was not created with the intention of pain and suffering. Man was created for better things. One of the children was afraid that God was angry at him because he had to kill someone to save his own life. You could tell that he was genuinely afraid. Had someone ever told him that God loved him? And that God’s heart broke for him? That he cared? A little girl had returned to her father’s grave four years after he was slaughtered. She collapsed on the ground, wailing and weeping. Her heart was breaking all over again. The hot tears that spilled down her cheeks came from her anguished soul. That was the scene that did me in.

You don’t see those kinds of emotions in western culture. You see positioning, well coifed hair, and perfectly composed faces. You may see eyes flashing from behind mascara and thick eye-liner but rarely do you see grief. People are ashamed of their tears.  They are ashamed of anything other than a slick, glossy facade that is supposed to leave people with the general feeling that life is peachy. But it isn’t. What’s the use of polite indifference? Why do we reach for our masks when we should be reaching for a hug? For comfort? And why do we know that Jesus cares, but as Christians, we don’t do a bloomin’ thing? Why are Christians known for condemnation when Christ called them to be known by love? But that is yet another thought to be explored later. I’m not a blogger who comes up with masterpieces and posts them after they’ve reached perfection. I see the cursor blinking on the screen and just try to move it across the screen with my words. I try to explore the idea on the page as I do in my mind. That’s why you won’t see too many definate conclusions. Just hazy ideas from a writer who should be asleep right now.

One Response to “War Dance”
  1. Dana Mentink says:

    Caitlyn, it sounds like your words will move people. Best of luck with your work in progress and your writing career ahead! Dana

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