What is it that we have here, in this part of the world, and they – the developed world – don’t have? (Apart from the yearlong sunshine and refreshing monsoons…) If you rule out the exoticism and the lure for adventure that brings many ordinary white people (without hidden agendas and not working for the CIA 🙂 to our shores, what is it that we offer them, in return of the luxuries they leave behind in their countries? I am not talking about the tourists, you should know by now. I am talking about those who come for longer periods, who come in search of work, who come because they ‘want to help’.
With my interesting connections to first world attempts to help the third, and with the excessive media coverage Wimal Weerawansa is getting at the moment, I couldn’t have timed experiencing this exceptional movie by Fatih Akin any better. (Ok, I don’t grudge Weerawansa his moment of glory, I only feel a whiff of nausea when it is overdone.) But Akin is a good antithesis to Weerawansa. It’s a good way of putting things rather than disqualifying all what Weerwansa says as bunkum.
The Edge of Heaven is not a story about conspiracy. It is not a story about aid workers. It is not a story about super powers’ manipulation of the world market. It is even not a simplistic version of globalisation and multiculturalism often bought and sold in the ideological arenas of the day.
It’s a story about coincidences. It’s a story about what we gain and what we stand to loose in this world system. And what we ultimately want as the ordinary people we are; What do we want to do with our lives? What gives us meaning to continue the madness of existence?
Why do young people take to streets and resort to violence just outside the European Union? Why would Germans and Swedish and Danes risk their lives in our conflict zones de-mining our territory? And why do we reject their help? But why do they still want to continue despite the arrogant refusals of our governments? Why don’t my American and German friends want to leave Sri Lanka, despite the less than bearable visa procedures our government? Is it just the fancy lifestyle they get to lead here? Would someone give up a whole country, a ‘home’, a way of life as comfortable as what you get in Germany or Sweden to some material benefits that we can provide them here? The big gardens and bungalows with domestic aid, is that it? or the sunshine? or vipassana?Or is it the sense of purpose that we find in living in situations like these?
Weerawansa would have one answer to these questions. Fatih Akin has another.
When I look back upon the choices I have made in my life, I’d rather go with Akin. I choose Sri Lanka because it gives me what Sweden couldn’t have given me. Being here gives me a sense of purpose. I feel needed. And of course, it is HOME. I belong here. And I draw a clear line between that sense of belonging and love for a land and the euphoria I see around me these past two days.
Watch The Edge of Heaven. And let’s talk.