The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay: Part 1: A Review

SPOILER WARNING. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED.

Last night, I had the privilege of seeing The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay: Part 1. I read the books a while back and don’t remember if it followed the book closely, but I feel that it had a huge impact.

The first two books/films were necessary in setting the scene for the third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy/series and definitely had impact, but this one just seemed like a major wake up call. As I watched, I kept seeing parallels between that world and ours.

I’ve written about it before – we read to see ourselves. And I definitely saw us.

  • I saw us in the pain and hunger – not so much for food as much as hope. Hope is something we lack so much in today’s day and age. We’re constantly being bombarded by noise and products – we’re constantly wrapped up in the superficial. Things that make us happy for a fleeting moment. But in the long run, we’re left empty. Our energy has been sucked dry by nothing and we allowed that to happen.
  • I saw us in the murder. In the scene where rebels were shot, all I could think of was ISIS. You either convert or you die. You either do as President Snow wants or you die. Seeing any connections?
    • Is it true faith if it’s forced? Is it true patriotism if it’s done out of fear?
  • I saw us in the massacres and death. The hospital in District 8. I thought of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta tending to the wounded, dying. And now, as I think about it, the Rwandan Genocide. Guys, we’re all equally human. But, I suppose, not equally humane.
  • I saw us in Peeta’s (or was it Peeta’s? 😉 ) urging for peace (peace or submission?). I think it was too late for peace. I think there does need to be a rebellion before we can attain a long-lasting impact with positive effects. People are dying, there’s injustice, morals grew corrupt and that’s what we need to combat.
  • I saw us in the relationship issues. Okay, I promise this isn’t going to be cheesy. I try to steer clear of that. Oh, and please get over the Team Gale and Team Peeta spat.
    • Gale + Katniss = mutual need for survival. Take away the mutual need. What have you got? Maybe two friends. Maybe not. The glue between them was a recipe of one part need and one part time (they had a lot of history – supporting each other, feeding their families, etc.). I don’t know that their ideals were always the same. But maybe more on that another time.
    • Peeta and Katniss, however, I believe embodied true love. Love in the most realistic sense. They’re not a Cinderella and Prince Charming. They’re both messed up and they both are willing to give up their life for the other. That’s love.
  • I saw us in the corruption. The people have less power than the government and that’s always a recipe for disaster. As the old quote by Lord Acton goes, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I don’t think I need to expound on this point.
  • I saw us in the selflessness and sheer humanity. When we’re suffering, when we’re all stripped of our titles, riches, popularity points – everything – we see what we really are. We’re either monsters hungry for death or we’re people fighting for the ones we love.
    • Katniss isn’t a very likable character, but she embodies certain ideals we all want. When it comes down to it, she’s courageous – scared, but going to push forward. She loves – not perfectly, but selflessly. Oh, and she can sing. I’m so jealous of Jennifer’s voice.
  • I saw us in Peeta. Though he was tortured, he still loved, he still risked it all. And, just as in the book (if I remember correctly), the longer he was in the enemy’s clutches, the worse he looked. It’s so true with us. Smoking could be an enemy. Negative thoughts could be an enemy. While not all of our demons have physical effects, they all have internal ones. They all hurt us ’till they get down to our souls and, if we’re not strong enough to destroy them, they’ll destroy us.

I hope that was comprehensive and left you with something to think about (as is always my hope).

A huge thanks to Suzanne Collins for her time and effort in writing The Hunger Games trilogy as well as to the whole film team in bringing it to life. You can read about death and imagine it, but until you see it, it’s hard for it to have as large of an impact. I cannot wait for the last installment in this film series. The books were amazing with a message to match and now the films are doing a great job in helping us visualize horror and truth.

Listen. I can’t get enough. I think I’m going to buy this when it comes out tomorrow on iTunes.

Don’t forget to like, comment, rate, and follow!

God bless!

Rana

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A Tribute to the Real Heroes

(If this is only semi-incoherent, it’s because my thoughts are sort of jumbled and I have so much to say, but not the talent to say it. I wish I could pay adequate tribute to my hero, but hopefully the message comes through clear.)

Heroes don’t wear capes. They don’t hide behind pieces of metal. They don’t wield magical hammers. They don’t have all the answers. They’re not fearless. They’re often not sexy-beasts-of-muscle. They don’t fight villains.

They fight people making the wrong choices – choices that can affect the world in a negative way.

They are normal human beings until they decide they want more. They’re normal until they realize that the future is in every individual’s hands. They’re just like us. But they choose selflessness. They choose possible death because life is nothing without the freedoms they fight for.

October 7, 1917 – October 14, 2014.

My great-grandfather died the other night. I’d only met him a few times since he lived up north and I down in the south, but have been quite fond of him. I remember the telephone calls, the couple of weeks we spent up in New Hampshire cabins with him several years ago, lunch at

Young’s, his cat (Pudder), and the way he would end his calls with, “God bless each and all of you.”

Lt. Col. Charles E. McLean was a World War II and Korean veteran. But I knew him as Grampy Mac, the great-grandfather who fought for my country. Who fought for me before I was born. Who would say, “Semper Fidelis” which means “always faithful” in Latin. He would tell the hour by military time. He asked me on the phone once, “What time would it be at thirteen hundred hours?”

I think we all owe that man so much more than we could ever give. He was an active member of society up until his death. He was proud of his service to our country and when he spoke, he commanded the room. Mac Mclean was very opinionated (and he had a right to those opinions, mind you – he risked his life for ours), stood by his values, and contributed to a society that has nearly forgotten that WWII even happened.

At 97, he still hadn’t lost his sense of humor. At lunch last year, he would say, “I should be dead. But, hey, the Good Lord’s kept me here for some reason.” Or something along those lines. 😉

One of the things I admire about him is his absolute selflessness. Even though he suffered from Alzheimer’s (which was the cause of his death), he continuously gave himself to the community. He’d allow college students to board with him, met with members of society on Tuesdays for lunch (and would invite people he’d just met to attend with him), and didn’t mind sharing his history, knowledge, faith, or opinions.

Now, I’d like to share a story with you. It’s one of my favorites. And this actually happened!

In Mac’s words, “From the nearby village appeared an elder carrying a basket of apples. His tall stove like top hat defined his status. I bowed gratefully, accepted the fruit, and he returned to the village.

A young man then appeared saying, “Me Jap, Me Jap,” I started to walk downstream with him walking next to me about 20 yards away. We had covered about a quarter of a mile when a hail of bullets, with the Doppler effect of tumbling ammo surrounding us, came our way. I concluded they were not leaning on their weapons. Thank goodness their aim was very poor.” It was a North Korean Rifle Company of about 150 men.

As I began walking directly to them, the firing ceased, I picked out the commanding officer, walked up to him, came to attention saluted and shook his hand. I then reached into my uniform and withdrew ten packs of cigarettes, ten Hershey bars and began distributing them to the Commanding officer and the soldiers. Amid big smiles and a relaxed situation, I then again, saluted, shook hands, and continued on my way expecting at any moment to be fired upon, shot in the back and be killed. They didn’t shoot nor did they follow. I continued to walk and eventually met up with and joined some South Korean troops and safety.”

My great-grandpa was pretty darn cool. ^_^ And to make him even more admirable, he won’t have a funeral. He’ll be having a celebration of life ceremony (?) instead. Doesn’t get more selfless than that.

Please, if you’d like to know more about him, click here and here. Our soldiers deserve so much more than we give them. I pray for their safety and peace of mind. May God bless them and their families.

R.I.P., Grampy Mac. ❤ Thank you for setting such a positive example in a world that disrespects most the ones who deserve the most respect. Thank you for your decision to protect the greatest country in the world. Thank you for fighting the enemies of justice, morality, and basic goodness.

Semper fi.

Rana

A Message on Peace

Hey, everyone!

So, a friend (she hasn’t updated that in a while, so…) sent me an email and I almost freaked. XD You know how I just did a post on peace? Well now I get an email on it! And you want to know who it’s by? The Pope! He’s asking us to be praying on September 7, 2013 for peace. Here’s the letter.

Seriously though. You don’t need to be Catholic to pray for this. We’re all humans, we all live here. What happens on end end of the world affects the other. Never is one person or nation solely responsible for the destruction that happens on this planet. Like Einstein said, The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch without doing anything.”

Without further ado, here’s the letter. 🙂

POPE FRANCIS
ANGELUS 
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 1st September 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Hello!
Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.
May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.
What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).
All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!
I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mat, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

God bless!

Rana

Peace

Hey, everyone! 😀

So, everything going on in the Middle East is pretty unsettling. =S

I have family over there and things are pretty messed up. I’m half Lebanese, half American, and I’ve got Scottish, Irish, Native American, German, and a few different other cultures mixed in there.

But I don’t think one needs to have ties with those countries to be concerned. We all live in one world. And it’s the only one we’ve got. We need to be taking care of it and each other. Using gas bombs, missiles, and other weapons against each other isn’t the way to achieve anything but war, hate, and death.

If that’s what our goal is, then do carry on.

I don’t think it is though. I think we were made for so much more. I see faces in the newspaper. Beautiful faces, scarred faces, young faces, old faces, fair skinned, dark skinned, red skinned, yellow skinned… It makes no difference. I see these people, I read what they’re convicted of, and it makes me sad.

We were made for so much more.

I think we need to start a movement. Let’s be the ones to change this world for the better. Who cares if we don’t achieve world peace? Who cares if we don’t change the world? If we can change even one person’s life for the better, it’s all worth it.

So, I challenge you. 

You’re reading this. I want you to smile at someone today.

I want you to smile at the cashier in Publix.

I want you to ask them how they’re doing.

Be genuine.

It’s apathy that’s killing our world. We are slowly becoming Desensitized.

No one cares anymore. Let’s change that. Okay?

Write a nice, encouraging note and leave it in a public place (a library book, sticky note on a public restroom stall, anywhere you want) and in that note, ask the receiver, whoever it may be, to spread this.

It doesn’t take much effort. An encouraging quote, Bible verse, or statement on a little piece of paper, on a sticky note.

Let’s be the change we wish to see in this world. ❤ Let’s pray for peace. 🙂

Now here’s something from me to you. This is my note:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in Me. ”

~*John 14:1*~

(If y’all want, we could start reblogging this and make it a thing. 🙂 )

God bless!

Rana