On October 14th at the Minga Restaurant, the DREAM youth group started its raising awareness series with the Michael Moore film, “Where to Invade Next,” followed by discussion led by a member of the DREAM team, in this case, Sarah Taylor (age 17). Sarah spoke of the DREAM goal of setting an example of social concern for other youth, and of an idea in the film that all it takes to tear down a wall is an idea – Moore's wall was the Berlin Wall, whose fall he and a friend witnessed. In the movie, Moore describes how he travelled Europe, searching for good ideas and policies to bring back home to the United States. This was because he has been criticized in his filmography for loudly crying about problems and ignoring their solutions. I asked Silvie Taylor (age 22) what she thought of the film. She said,
"In the movie, I liked that the kids (in Finland) got a better education through less homework, less school and more creative time. There was also an interview with the world's first female president (Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who was elected in August of 1980), which set the bar for more female presidents. And it was sad to see how cruel the U.S. prison guards were to Black prisoners, especially compared to the Norwegian prison system that focused on rehabilitation, not revenge."
The movie also showed Moore's visit to Portugal, where drug use has been legalized. Instead of chaos, this policy, combined with treatment and reintegrating of addicts into society, has had great success. For more information on this non-isolationist approach to eliminating drug abuse, see the book, "Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari, at http://chasingthescream.com/
Moore also interviews police officers in Portugal, who ask him for a chance to send a message to law enforcement officers in America about the death penalty: "Killing people in the name of the law is an affront to human dignity," they declare.
After the movie, DREAM organizer Reza Kazemi spoke about the advantages of watching a documentary like this together. The magic of collective awareness shared together is different from what it would be if we watched the same film at home. Like Moore's film, the present emphasis of DREAM is positive. They wrote: "This year’s DREAM raising Awareness series looks at solutions and possibilities for creating positive change. Rather than only looking at a problem, the focus is to look at the solutions community can offer."
The next in the series will take place on on November 18th, in support of the Dunnville Farmers’ Market. The movie will be Michael Pollan's documentary, “In Defense of Food,” meant to debunk the daily media barrage of conflicting claims about nutrition. DREAM is also sponsoring an application of the lessons of eating food, rather than factory produced junk food, on Feb. 24th, with a “A Culinary Night that Heals”. Grade 8 students of Dunnville will cook up gourmet food that is healing, both for our bodies and the planet.
By John Taylor
Sarah Taylor, Laurence, Caleb Noon in discussion period after the film.