Sunday meditation: Hunger Games and Kony – the irony

By Rosemary McKenry

A 13-year-old girl, Ruby, puts up two ‘likes’ on her Facebook page. ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Kony 2012.’

Her friends do likewise. Ironic, I think. One post is about teenagers in an arena killing each other until one remains. The world watches this reality TV that shows the killings in detail.

Love in this dystopian story, is thought of as a sickness. Children killing each other is entertainment.

Kony 2012 is a campaign triggered by a film that shows the horrors inflicted by a elusive warlord on young boys and girls in Africa. It urges people like Ruby to help promote the campaign to pressure ‘America’ to take action and ‘take Kony out.’ I commend Ruby and her friends for caring about those less fortunate.

I search for reviews, criticisms, discussion. I find only publicity and praise for The Hunger Games. I ask parents, librarians and booksellers if they have read the trilogy. None have.

I ask if I can borrow The Hunger Games from the local library. I’m told I will be number 27 on the waiting list. There are seven copies. My name is added and I wait.

Notification comes to say the book awaits me. I read it.

It’s a page turner. I am deeply disturbed.

Am I a hypocrite? I read detective stories full of death. I watch murder movies. So what am I so disturbed about?

Is it that I, as an adult, can cope with death as entertainment but young people cannot? I have to think carefully before I write my letter of disgust to the local paper, urging parents and librarians to read books before they purchase them.

Most adolescents I know have their feet on the ground, will be engrossed in the tension and horror they meet as they read dystopian literature. But what of those whose lives are already disturbed?

We are encouraged to take positive action to save the world from myriad disasters such as climate change, poverty, wars and loss of basic freedoms. We know the future could be grim. But if we have hope, if we believe in the importance of love and if we stop seeing violence as the solution to problems, we’ll be able to persevere. Without hope and love, we might as well give up now.

Can’t we talk about these things with our kids? They are being yelled at by books, movies and very successful promoters. I like to think we can join the discussion. It wouldn’t surprise me if, by listening to our youth, we learn something encouraging. After all, they are outraged by Kony’s cruelty to children.

We adults have grown complacent about the sufferings of others. Just look at our attitudes to those who are desperate to find a safe place to live and who think Australia is a country where they might find it.

Posted in Arts, Featured slide, Meditations, Social Justice, War

One Response

  1. Camille

    Thanks Rosemary for your article.
    As a teacher and parent I too am concerned about media popularising violence especially in young people who have not matured and are not yet able to regulate their behaviour and dont have copy startegies to deal with horrific situations. Why as a society we continue to promote violence and repress love happiness and affection? We need a cultural shift from love of violence to love of peace. Perhaps we need far more rigorous regulations for media. It is sad that all adults are not concerned as we are and even worse that violence sells.