12 Years a Slave

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I rarely comment on non-witchy topics on this blog but I had to mention that I recently saw the film, “12 Years a Slave” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender (with Brad Pitt in a small but memorable role) and directed by Brit Steve McQueen. It was one of the most affecting films about slavery I have ever seen and is perhaps the definitive film on slavery in America. It was painful to watch the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who is abducted from a trip to Washington DC and wrongfully sold into slavery in Louisiana.

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Each scene is like a splash of cold water in the face, especially in contrast to the beautiful natural environments which are captured in bucolic splendor. The brutality and savagery of slavery seems deeply personal from this one characters unique perspective, because like us, he was born a free man and never had any idea what life as a slave could possibly be like.

After watching this film, I realized I never had any idea either. This film should be required watching in schools like we had to watch “The Sorrow & the Pity” to learn about the Holocaust. Without such a film depicting the way events unfolded (taken from the book of the same name written by Solomon Northup in 1854 after he was liberated) there is no real way to understand or comprehend slavery in America. It has (to put it mildly) been white-washed from our history.

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Everything is all right now, we have a black President. We love Beyoncé. The Kardashians have their TV show and Kim has Kanye and North West. Everything is totally cool, right?

But then there is Paula Deen. Remember what she said? And the patriarch from Duck Dynasty? Racism is still alive and well in this country.

Everything is NOT all right.

Every person in this country who thinks they know the history of slavery should see this film because trust me, you do NOT know anything about slavery.