Intergenerational family stories are a genre unto themselves. What makes one narrative compelling or another boring depends on the writer ensuring that all of the threads weave together to create a coherent and engaging tale.
No Country, by Kalyan Ray, was published in 2014. The novel starts in a small town in rural Ireland in 1843. Brendan and Padraig have been best friends since they were young. As it usually happens when we are on the cusp of adulthood, the boys are torn apart by blossoming and confusing romantic feelings. Padraig is unaware that his girlfriend, Brigid is carrying their child, when he leaves for the city to fight for his nation’s independence. Instead of returning home, he makes a dangerous mistake that sends him instead to India.
Back in Ireland, Brendan is raising Padraig and Brigid’s daughter, Maeve as his own child. When the potato famine struck, he decided that it would be better to start a new life in America. As the years pass and different branches of the family tree come into being, questions of identity, politics, and history play with the fate of their descendants.
The book started off well enough. I was drawn into the narrative and the character’s struggles. The problem is that about 2/3rds of the way in, I got lost. I can’t put my finger on what went wrong, but for whatever reason, the story lost its momentum. While I did finish it, the ending left me with an empty feeling.
The wonderful thing about the movies is the ability to take us away from our daily lives for a short time. The not so wonderful thing about movies is that stereotypes can easily be spread.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984. This chapter of the Indiana Jones narrative takes place in 1935 in India, which was then part of the British Empire. When a mystical stone is taken from a small village, Indy (Harrison Ford) teams up with Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) to find the rock. It has been taken by a secret cult who is driven by death and slavery.
I have mixed feelings about this movie. As an adventure film, it’s fine. Ford is at his finest as the title character. I understand that this is a heightened reality that would never exist in real life. The one thing that stands out to me how extremely annoying Capshaw’s character is. She is whiny, she is needy, and she contributes nothing to the story other than being the obligatory female. I don’t understand how Capshaw and co-screenwriter Gloria Katz could bring this 2D character, who is completely unlikable, to life. I was also struck by the portrayal of the Indian people. I wish this image had been a little close to the truth and less of a caricature. While I appreciate the inclusion of Short Round, it does little to improve my opinion.
Imagine this, if you will. You have an infant daughter at home. You leave for work one morning, expecting her to be taken care of while you are at work. Instead you come home to find that your child, who is not even a year old, has been raped by her adult cousin.
I would love to say that this story is fiction, but the story is sadly true.
I don’t have any children, but this story makes my stomach turn. What kind of sick person rapes an eight month old? What kind of society allows not just looks the other way when it comes to rape and sexual assault, but also silently paves the way for a baby to be raped?
If this is not a sign that we need severe change in our culture, I don’t know what is.
In India, a man ran away with a married woman. In response, a local council responded by ordering the rape of his sisters and the destruction of his home. Fearing for their lives and the safety of their daughters, the man’s family is living elsewhere, unable to return home.
Amnesty International has launched a petition to urge Indian authorities to step in and protect the daughters of this family. If you believe that this ruling is unjust, wrong and just plain cruel, please sign. These girls should not be living in fear of such a heinous act.
This is beyond disgraceful. It is disgusting.
What kind of backward society allows a local council (note that they were not elected by the people and are only on the council because they were lucky enough to born into the upper echelons of their society) to decide that a just punishment is rape?
Why must the daughters and by extension, the family be punished by their son’s decision? If anyone should be condemned, it is the couple, not his family and most certainly not his sisters.
What also strikes me about this story is that it proves that in many parts of the world, a woman is still regarded as a piece of property. They are bought and sold in the name of marriage, their virginity is their asset and the key to the family’s future. By ordering the rape of these two innocent girls, their future and by extension, the family’s future is soiled forever.
It is beyond disgraceful and the men who ordered this heinous act should be brought to a legitimate court to be tried for their actions.
Rape is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as humanity. Rape is used to control and suppress victims and potential victims, making them feel powerless.
Leslee Udwin is a British filmmaker whose documentary, India’s Daughter is about the rape and murder of a young woman in India in 2012. The Indian government is doing all it can to keep the documentary away from the public.
Mukesh Singh is one of the men who was sentenced to death for the crime. He believes the following:
A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. … Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.
Excuse me? Are my ears deceiving me? In 2015, the fact that these words are still being uttered is disgusting.
Let me tell you something, buddy. If there is anyone who should be locked away home and forced to cook and clean, it should be you. Men and women are equal. If a woman wants to go out in the evening, it is her right to do so. Just because YOU believe that we are living in 1915 and not 2015 does not give you the right to tell a woman how to live.
I hope at the time of your death, whenever that is, Just A Girl keeps playing over and over until you go insane. And then maybe you will remember what century we live in.