I wrote these pieces in New York. I wrote them after Thatcher died, people argued about her legacy and a lot of money was spent on her funeral. I wrote them during some Syria headlines, after Django and Zero Dark Thirty and during Boston and Watertown. They’re here now because you should read The Hunger Games and because they and things going on in the world are hard to shake off no matter how beautiful the blossom and green leaves on the trees are in May in Belfast.
This life we wake up to – this world we are learning to know – this breath going in and out – this violence that is everywhere; the mundane, the catastrophic, the fire, the blood, limbs and tears.
The whine of human pain – the extinguished – the flickering – the wavering hope.
I spent a lot of time as a teenager and young adult wondering what the point of living, life and earth was.
I’ve spent a week reading and watching people matching grief for grief, violent episode for violent episode, injustice for injustice. I’ve heard leaders of countries articulating and in-articulating vision, strength, surrender, survival and eulogy.
We’re told where I grew up and live that we should use our influence to work, love and be just where we can – I was told that paralysis or escapism has no power where justice is concerned. Yet this attitude and approach just feels a little too comfortable when huge structures and systems of power swagger around with very little accountability, self awareness or desire for change or mutual human dignity and flourishment.
I started this Love & Revolution Series in November last year. The Hunger Games trilogy was always going to be part three. I spent a lot of time thinking about what reading the trilogy meant to me, did for me and awoke in me, and this piece has been settling and cooking for about a year now. Given my current reflections on power and justice my mind and my heart have returned to these stories and I will try here to capture this stirring I felt and the conclusions that gave me an uneasy peace in my humanness.
You should read The Hunger Games trilogy. They’re such important books for our culture and time.
They have reminded me of ideas that have become echoes and shadows at the sides of my life so much of the time. and they gave me fresh illustrations with which to describe revolution, love, trauma and injustice.
The Hunger Games has a post-apocalyptic landscape and premise. Twelve districts are forced to send two children each year to fight to the death in a futuristic arena in order to win food and other privileges for their district. This ‘tradition’ and force have been set in place as a form of measured justice in order to prevent more serious violences the precedented this order of things – a previous war. The Hunger Games manipulate media and celebrity to control and motivate the oppressed districts providing the sheen and beauty assigned and misaligned with brutal violence and fear. The Hunger Games are controlled and developed in the Capitol a place where people live well; decadently and frivolously obsessed with appearance, food, media and the ‘highlight’ of The Hunger Games and the associated events each year.
The main character Katniss is a strong, intelligent, frightened and angry young woman. She finds herself at the mercy of the power systems and structures yet she inadvertently subverts these systems and structures and inspires revolution via a combination of her skills, impulsivity and rebellion.
Aside from being an amazing role model, Katniss’ journey and experience of oppression, loss, violence and revolution left me with aches and tears and resignation and I suppose enough hope to keep me living.
If you’ve experienced anything overwhelming about violence and power with the headlines lately I came across another beautiful piece this week along a similar vein here:
Continue to read about the Echoes & Aches that resonated for me in The Hunger Games tomorrow – they couldn’t all live within the one post here.