If you haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge, see it.

I started to write a simple Facebook post, but thought better of it. There’s more I want to say than I think should go there. So, I’ve decided to write a proper blog post. My first in months.

Generally, I don’t like movies that glorify war. I don’t condone war. Or the death penalty. Or really violence of any kind. But this movie doesn’t glorify war. Not really.

It’s about a man, a Seven Day Adventist, who doesn’t believe in killing. For any reason. But he decides to enlist in the Army during World War II as a medic. His faith and conviction allowed him to save 75 wounded men.

He never picked up a weapon and never took a life.

I admit to a sensitive side (don’t tell anyone), but rarely to I shed more than a tear at the most emotionally wrenching scenes. But I cried at more than one point as I watched.

As the 140-minute movie ended, watching real-life accounts from just a few of the men he saved and of Desmond himself, I thought about my own pacifist convictions.

Unlike Desmond Doss, I don’t believe in the notion of a “just war.” He didn’t believe in killing, but saw the war as justified and wanted to do his part. Without killing anyone. Despite my belief, however, after watching this movie I couldn’t help but wonder about the strength of my own conviction. What would I be willing to sacrifice to avoid committing violence? Or to prevent someone else from committing violence?

The answer is simple; I don’t know.

But if I don’t know the answer to those questions, I’m forced to wonder just how strong my convictions are. Maybe no one really knows until their put in an impossible situation.

In the end, I guess it’s just ethical or philosophical theory. Either way, I’ll close where I began. See Hacksaw Ridge. You won’t regret it.

And if you can get to the end without sobbing, you’re stronger than I.

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several progressive and bernie supporters gathered last night at the ward center consolidated theater to see the movie snowden, directed by oliver stone.

the movie, in case you’re not familiar, follows edward snowden through his career in intelligence until june 2013 when, working with reporters, leaked information about various spying programs by the NSA.

i’d definitely recommend it. the movie is well done and, rightly, portrays snowden as a hero who risked his career and freedom to make public the illegal spying being conducted by the NSA.

at the conclusion of the movie, i thought i should go back and read the original articles from the guardian and washington post. check them out as well.

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so, i know i’m very much behind on posting about my experiences in philadelphia, but it’s difficult to prioritize when i’m busy catching up with friends and spending time with family. and though i’ve still a few more days to chronicle, i wanted to take a break and share some about my first trip in three years back to my home town….

i’m reminded of a quote from the movie gross pointe blank;

“you can never go home again, but you can shop there.”

while not entirely accurate of my experience, it does, i think convey a certain emotion which i’m now feeling. in so many ways, my childhood home and my neighborhood are exactly how i remember them.

but in so many ways, this place is foreign to me; like visiting the past in a dream. familiar landmarks have aged almost beyond recognition, or have been replaced altogether. streets and highways interchanges are strange. returning home from lawrence late the other night, i got lost. sure, it didn’t take me too long to find my bearings, but the fact that it happened in the first place was quite unsettling. and it’s that unsettled feeling that’s led me to write this here.

i always knew, at least in part of my brain, that this would eventually happen, though i guess there’s no amount of time, no extent of one’s brain that can prepare you for the eventual realization; this place is no longer my home.

i’m reminded of yet another movie, garden state, in which the main character describes the idea of home, what it is and what it means.

“you know that point in your life with you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? all of a sudden, even though you have some place where you put all your shit, that idea of home is gone.”

i’ve had that thought and those feelings in the past, but somehow this time it was more pronounced. more acute. though i think of honolulu as my “home,” that word doesn’t hold the same meaning anymore. indeed, that idea of home is gone.

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