Have another Pangea Day  

Posted by CK in , ,

Ok, so here I was sitting and racking my brain... hahaha... one sec, sorry to digress but I just did a quick google search on whether it's "racking" or "wracking" and this is what it threw up. :) Thought it was funny. Can't believe someone did a language/etymology check on it.

Anywho, so, supported by randomhouse.com, I was "racking" my brains to remember this event I'd seen on TV purely by chance on May 10th, 2008. It started out with a few short movies being played, a few world music artists doing their thing and it was so totally engrossing that I watched it and went online for it for the next 4 hours.

The event i'm talking about is Pangea Day. Let me pull up a quote on what it is about:

"In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that — to help people see themselves in others — through the power of film."

And truly, it was incredible. There were films of all sorts, shot by Phone Cams, amateur cinematographers, cartoonists, animators, from India, the West Bank, China, Cuba, the US of A, Darfur and so so many more. I thought that of all the film festivals, of all the "Days" declared and celebrated, this one was the most powerful, moving and it connected the most with me.

As I was watching through the night, I realized that literally millions of people around the world were watching, blogging and commenting on the powerful, beautiful films that were being shown on the screens in real time. Now, other than the Oscars, very few events can claim live viewership but as I was leaving comments on the website, simultaneously, hundreds of comments kept getting posted moments after mine with practically the same message: "I understand the message you're trying to convey."

There was this one film about a girl lying on her bed finger-dancing to a tune and it seemed so simple an activity until the last few seconds when the camera pans out and the girl leans back in her wheelchair. A simple act that suddenly carries so much weight just because the girl can't dance the way her fingers can. It was called "Dancing Queen".There was another film about refugees in Sierra Leone who, in the midst of such heart-wrenching devastation, formed a music group to play for the rest of their camp-mates and called themselves "Refugee All Stars". A boy who comes back to his native Cuba after going to the States to work, the movie is called "The Americana Project". A walk down memory lane to look at the beauty of the country that was Lebanon, before the conflicts and before the bombs fell. You can see all these on the website. And please do. These are just some of them that I remember. There were funny movies, sad movies, thoughtful movies and then, just movies for the heck of it.

It was the dream of a young Lebanese filmmaker, Jehane Noujaim. It was her vision that the world be united if for just one day through the magic of film. And man, did she ever make that happen. There were screenings happening simultaneously in New York, Cairo, Bombay, London, Kigali, Rio and there were speakers from all around the world who said in one voice that it was time to forget borders and politics and just move past all that.

One of the most touching moments of the night was when this lady and this man walked on to stage, hand in hand, and told us their story. The man was a Palestinian who's brother had been killed in one of the incessant conflicts that broke out on the West Bank. He had nothing but hatred in his heart for the Israelis who had taken away his family. The woman was the mother of an Israeli soldier who had been killed by one of the rocket attacks into the West Bank by the Hezbollah. They stood there, together and asked that if they, mortal enemies who from before birth were taught to hate the other, could forgive and see the sorrow of the other side, why couldn't everyone else?

I loved every moment of it and I've been waiting for another Pangea Day to happen since. But it hasn't. So, it is my genuine request to Jehane to not stop what she started because she did a wonderful thing and there are very few lights that shine that bright before going out. Keep it alive.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 23, 2009 at Monday, November 23, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Nice info. Wasn't aware of Pangea Day... until now.

PS: Good template. But try and reduce the number of posts on the main page. Keeping it at < 10 maybe a good idea...

November 25, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Thanks, Roshmi. Noted.

November 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

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