Green Book: Controversy & legacy

The film that won the best picture award at Oscar’s in 2019 is the Green Book. The story takes us on a concert tour that Dr. Donald Shirley, a renowned classical and jazz pianist took in the Deep South during the segregated era of 1962.  

In this journey, he is accompanied by his Italian American driver, Tony Vallelonga aka Tony Lip who is a tough guy from the Bronx chosen particularly for this risky job of a temporary chauffeur and security guard. Tony was prejudiced against blacks before his trip; had stereotypical assumptions and occasionally used racial slurs. Still, he got this job because of his skill of passing through any kind of trouble, thanks to his ‘bullshit artistry’.  

Despite having quite opposite personalities, the two men were able to form a bond that overwhelms the audience heart with warmth. Dr. Shirley deliberately took on this journey to the hostile part of the country because it takes courage, as his band member said ‘to change people’s hearts’. 
Going through the difficult times together, both understood each other‘s struggles and form a friendship that will illuminate until their death.  

             Image result for green book pinterest                                        

However, this film has received criticisms for various reasons. It has been the center of controversy since its release. The filmmakers didn’t contact the family of the Shirley for any information and the family said that the portrait of the artist as depicted in this film is false. Shirley’s cousin said that the film is once again the depiction of a white man’s version of a black man’s life. 

 Critics accused this film of having racial cliches and hinting to have found the solution or rather ended the racial prejudices. People are even discussing the credibility of a white filmmaker to make films on black people.  

The son of Vallelonga addressed the controversy and said, ‘If you’re discussing the Don Shirley family thing, that falls on me; but Don Shirley himself told me not to speak to anyone.’ He told the journalists that the pianist insisted, ‘If you are going to tell the story, you tell it from your father, me. No one else.’ 

Despite the disputes, the film scored the top prize at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and at People’s Choice. The director, Peter Farrelly said at the acceptance speech, ‘the whole story is about love. It’s about loving each other despite our differences.’ 

Ode to women: Maya Angelou (I)

I’ve known some extraordinary women in my life. Known them through books, virtual or everyday life. Women who made me realize the beauty; the beauty of life and womanhood. I like to say that I have each part of these women, yet, they always inspire me to be authentic and original.

My mother, my favorite singer, my best friend, my teachers and favorite writers are my muses. Women who surround me and those who stir me. This is why when I read the verses of Maya Angelou, it feels like encountering a storm. A reality that shakes you up, a calamity that was bound to happen to revive you, to bring you back in existence. She comes to remind me of the value that love holds— love for yourself, trust and power that lies within a fragile body. The power that cannot be found at any other place and must not be given away.

She makes me believe that I don’t need anyone to appreciate me or to make me realize how capable or good I am. It is a lesson girl that you ought to learn by yourself. ‘You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody,’ she says.

When I feel crushed down by the standards of modern beauty; something that makes all of these pretty young women suffer. Suffer to the extreme point. But here she comes to whisper in the silent, dreary nights saying, ‘I’m not cute or built to fit a model size but I’m phenomenal.’ Waking us again from the dream of lies.

The magic lies in the eyes. She has the power, an absolute power, an inner potential that surpasses the world’s arrogance.

When I think about my first love; he with whom I never shared a word, yet he stays with me until the last breath of consciousness in the night. I feel bruised by my own feebleness, my own decisions, and my own emotions. I saw the enemy that doesn’t stand in front of me but stays inside of me. The greatest foe who can’t be beaten and can’t be a friend.

She appears again from the thick clouds of tangled thoughts. She came to console me; reminding the desires will change and dreams will fade away in the distant memory.

Men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply
Stand and watch.

She learned the lesson with a bitter experience. But she wrote it down to help us choose the right way. Saving us from the rough and tough path.

Not everything we desire is full of roses. Soft and delightful made just for us to walk. We can become blind to reality but only to the extent we want. But ‘life loves the liver of it.’ And you must think of living and learning from it.

Would you still look for me ?

One fine evening,
A thought came into my mind
which made me ponder and think of my plight
I sat on my chair and thought if I die
Would you come to me to say a final goodbye?
Would my dead body be able to get delight?
With  her alive beloved  sitting beside

I am not sure if it all makes sense,
But it is – just an attempt
to know…

That
If!! I am not alive except in your dream, Would you still look for me??

When the Dusk will set its spark,
with the sky full of stars,
Decorating it with their gleam
Will they remind you of your queen?
And  Would you still look for me??

Would you think of nights we spent together?
In that freezing cold weather,
To whom would you say-
“My world with you seems serene”
Would you still look for me ??

When one day suddenly your phone would beep,
Would you pray that;
By any chance, it’s your stupid being
If not!
Would you still look for me??

God forbid something silly happens around you,
Whose name would you scream?
Will it be mine or your new sunshine?
I hope she replies and
If not!
Would you still look for me ??

A lost battle

It was a beautiful day
with the burst of dancing sunshine
moving cars 
autumn pink flowers
and a general blather
A perfect day 
whence nobody peeks in their heart
a dreary place 
to look into
yet the habitual one
can’t help
to wander
to explore
to agitate 
and
to be beaten
A fight
a continuous battle 
with themselves
with their nature
with their soul

To reach nothing
but a defeat

 This is why a man is his greatest enemy

Who was he ??

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There was a knock on my door
when I was sitting all alone
crying, dying and craving for a listener

And to my surprise
The person standing outside,
Asked me to let him in
So that I can vanish my gloom
And
Let flowers of smile again to bloom

His presence lightened my room
As if, we were in a state all aloof
I  asked him – Why has he come?
He said- to make you listen to your inner drum

He said,
My Dear look around
Birds are chirruping, trees are dancing
As the wind blows,
Look at the sky & watch the stars glow
And tell me – Do you still find a reason to be low?

Amazed by the sight of the endless and hopeful sky,
I realized that I can be happy if I try….

Rumination

There are times when the existence seems like a burden. A work unfinished or the person’s mockery wreck the heart as it never should. The sense of individuality increases, up to the point to annihilate the existence of anything else.

Then, we wonder. How? When it all happened? When those childish worries took the form of this mature-ish stress. Where was that turning point? Where are those stupid dreams? Where went that time when you thought that your first crush is going to be your soulmate – the first and the last partner?

Regardless, it happened. Everything changed. And now we are left behind to sort all out. By ourselves. Aren’t we mature enough yet?

Dreaming success and love. A greater future, full of roses. Loved ones beside and financial success at your feet. Isn’t this enough to measure your happiness? Fame and money!

Then we say that the world is cruel. Humanity is drifting away. But don’t we prefer the same?

Longing

Tonight
is going to be cruel
A solemn, dreary blackness
Misty blue mountains
grieving from my flashy window
longing for someone
asking for a loved one
one who is lost
in commonness
someone far away
living in an odd sphere
of time and space
enjoying a lovely evening
maybe
worrying maybe, loving maybe
crying maybe or denying maybe
you can never see
never know
never console

Just imagine
and love

Fascism’s beginning in Italy

The Great War has ended finally. After the death of around 20 million people and even a greater number wounded, a peace treaty has been signed. Italy fought alongside the Triple Entente and came out as one of the victorious nations.

But the country was devastated- inflation, heavy unemployment due to the reconstruction of industries, a high cost of living and an unprecedented wave of protests. Internal divisions led to social turmoil— workers were demanding an improvement in their work conditions, decrease in work hours and good pay. To attain the results, they occupied the factories. Nationalists and landowners were angry too as they didn’t receive the land promised to them during the war. There was a great dissatisfaction for this ‘mutilated victory’.

Yet, the government with Giovanni Giolitti as a head didn’t attempt to bring any order inside the nation. He took a liberal approach and was convinced that these strikes will halt without any kind of intervention.

                          Occupation by the Red Guards in 1920

Benito Mussolini took the action eventually by setting up Fasci Italiani di Combattimento in 1919. Initially, this was a political movement of a para-military character emerged as a reaction to the protests of the working class and the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Mussolini himself was a former leading exponent of the Socialist Party but was expelled when he favored the intervention of Italy in the war. Tensions escalated and the fascists started attacking the protesters on street. The bourgeois, property-owners, middle-class managers and leaders supported the fascists as Mussolini, for them, was a ‘right man’ who can bring peace and order back.

Nonetheless, they were anti-democratic and anti-socialist. Organized in squads known as Blackshirts their violence flared, methods became harsher and intimidation grew as the power expanded. The National Fascist Party was created and a mass demonstration took place in 1922 with Marcia su Roma. The king, Vittorio Emanuele III, didn’t call the troops to repress this coup. Instead, he appointed Mussolini as Prime Minister, giving him the political powers.

                                                      Squadristi & Fascists

After ascending to power, it was a time to legitimize his rule. Thus, he changed the electoral laws (Acerbo law): a political party which would obtain over 25% of the votes will automatically have 65% of the seats. And like this, the National Fascist Party won the election of 1924. He validated the Blackshirts by making them a military organ known by the name of Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, an all-volunteer militia of theKingdom of Italy. Then he formed the Opera Nazionale Balilla, an institution aimed at young people in order to gain consensus and convert the youth into a political weapon. Media was under the control of the regime. The education system was structured in accordance with the fascist ideologies. The focus was to evoke physical courage and patriotism. At this time, there was no space left for anti-conformism or rebel.

                Giacomo Matteotti, a member of the Socialist Party

One noted case is of Giacomo Matteottia socialist politician who openly spoke against the brutality and election irregularities in the Parliament. Later, Matteotti disappeared and his corpse was found buried outside the city. Fed up with all this, the opposition withdrew from the chamber; an event that is recalled today as ‘Aventine Secession’.

I’ve said my piece. Now you prepare my funeral speech — Giacomo Matteotti

Mussolini took the political, moral and historical responsibility of everything that happened in recent months hinting the murder of Matteotti. This was the beginning of a terrible time during which there won’t be any constitutional restrictions against his power. Nominating himself ‘Il Duce’, he set on a journey to make Italy a great European power. But future have something horrifying for the entire world that goes beyond any imagination.

Italy, o gentlemen, wants peace, wants tranquility, wants a laborious calm; we will give it to her with love, if possible, or by force if it is necessary.

Residual Thoughts

There are times when humanity seems like a far away thing. The point that we all are human beings, appertaining to the same category of species looks like an illusion. And it never crosses our mind that there are other species, besides us, beyond me, sharing this planet. It is an everyday fact, still, seems like a counter-intuitive thought. Our holy network of the ecosystem is ruining day by day but we don’t care. It doesn’t matter if the insects are going extinct. We don’t care what will be the future of this planet, the future of this humanity and this green graceful nature.

It doesn’t matter as long as there is ME.

Maybe, we are too selfish. Ahimè, this growth! Why are we evolved to the point? How do we reach here? This place where anything beyond ourselves doesn’t matter. Caring for other kinds is a distant consideration but we don’t even care for our fellows. We become the prey of our feelings, irrational feelings, emotions, instincts. Killing and ruin others for power, jealousy, love, obsession, madness, and fun. We are too self-absorbed. Too damned. Such a feeling of distinction, almost irrational, extreme. It seems like that connection to the self is lost. Irretrievably lost in the midst of superficiality.

But, craving for that lost link is immense. I can smell that peace I once felt. That satisfaction, that completeness. This memory is sweet. And powerful. A source to keep me alive.

Gives me strength and hope that someday, maybe someday, I can feel that again.

Quote

Poesia

 

Dreary nights with a longing
to meet him
the smile was exquisite and
when he asked if I’m the one to come from
the heavenly sky
I said yes
with a blissful smile
and a throbbing heart
the desire to meet you
was unconquering
my love
it was a nightmare
that distance
those long days
that’s why I came here
finally
crossing the five seas
to see you with these blessed eyes
that have been crying for you
to recreate that moment
that delightful scene
that coincided us
five eternities ago
O my dear I came here
only for you
I say
only for you