As part of the Cinemagic International Film & Television Festival for Young People, and in conjunction with the Unite Against Hate campaign, there was a day event at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, home of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
In the Press Conference Suite the film, To Kill a Mockingbird, was screened. Having watched the film at home, I showed up towards the end. After the film, there was a debriefing by Pete Snodden. A review for those of you who haven’t read or viewed the story:
According to the above summary, there are four main lessons from the book:
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes
- Don’t kill mockingbirds (they sing and cause no harm)
- Keep fighting even if you know you’ll lose
- The world is very unfair
After lunch, everyone gathered in the Senate Chamber, where Evelyn Hoy (Policy Lead on Cohesion, Sharing and Integration, OFMdFM), introduced the policy. For this audience, there was a “Youth Friendly Version” distributed, which provided the headlines of the full version.
Other panellists were Billy Gamble (former Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service) and myself.
I read a passage from the book, which makes reference to denomination differences among Baptists:
Miss Maudie settled her bridgework. “You know old Mr Radley was a foot-washing Baptist –”
“That’s what you are, ain’t it?” (says Scout)
“My shell’s not that hard, child. I’m just a Baptist.”
“Don’t you all believe in foot-washing?”
“We do. At home in the bathtub … Foot-washers believe anything that’s pleasure is a sin.” …
“Atticus says God loving folks like you love yourself –”
Miss Maudine stopped rocking, and her voice hardened. “You are too young to understand it,” she said, “but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of — oh, of your father … What I meant was, if Atticus Finch drank until he was drunk he wouldn’t be as hard as some men are at their best. There are just some men who — who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
I also explained how I am sensitive to how people in Northern Ireland treat migrants and new arrivals, as I am a Northern Ireland immigrant myself.
Ah, but sure you’re just a Yank, speak English (with a funny accent) and am white, like most of the rest of the local population.
Well, that’s the point. Why should any other blow-in be treated any differently than those who look like the rest of us?