December 18, 2008

“Liberty and justice for all!”

Back in the 1980's in the Eastern Europe people were assaulted with this slogan all over the radio waves coming in poorly through the Communism’s buzzing machines; Later on blamed for why the Red World wasn’t waking up to the West European call. Tones of people heard the call though and they fled the East. Some got through horrible situations to get themselves out there in to the free world. Young men generally; most used prostitution in the Nordic countries as to get themselves a statute and settle among the more civilized siblings: At least most of my friends at the time did that. They were young and the most courageous, and thought they had a long life ahead and plenty of time to make it big. Some did made it, mostly didn’t. Not too many women got out through; At least not as many as the men. It was tougher out there for them because on those times most still cared about their dignity. Those we all think about otherwise, were the other kind. The light at heart existed in both worlds anyway. The western ones did it only for pleasure, as I've heard, and that way kind of make it Ok for them.

Late 1989 I got the chance of getting out myself. Too late it is true. But I got myself to a great, sunny place, somewhere in the Mediterranean. I still think to this day that a cosmopolite tourist island is the best place to meet people from all over, although most might not act exactly as they do at home. What is interesting is that an island like that will have a very large selection of services, for lots of different standards. The down town road began with five stars hotels and was ending somewhere in the old city, with cheap 2 star hotel rooms that in the short time of winter became love dens for locals. On the price of a standard hotel day you would get two hours, then the rooms were let for rent for how many of these two hours a day could fit in, down the lucky owner Reception book. The winters were great out there; Short but intense. There were still foreigners on the island but mostly East Europeans, working there, and mostly girls because guys didn’t get countries like this: The life was too expensive and the market didn’t provide. You see, local girls still had to be virgins to get married over there. I believe they still do, although I am sure they kind of started to get lost in the count by now.

The mixture down the island must have changed the blood strain already in about 20 years of existence by now; about the same amount of years Communism lasted down from where I’m coming from. Historically Communism lasted longer for those they didn’t have the chance to live it, but for those who live it spiritually it really got into place by the time The Queen of England was decorating Ceausescu for his merits. God, that made him think he’s up there on the same ladder with the kings. She even gave him a ride next to her in her golden coach. I guess she was doing that with every Chief of State at the time, but it made him feel great; the guy was a shoe fixer in a “Commune”, something bigger than a village and not yet a town. I found out later that to become a Town you needed to have more than five building blocks at 4 stores up near the main road, or as the English call it “The High Street”: The translation is close.

Looking back at that long experience that had to follow living on that Paradise island I sometime still believe that I had the time of my life, although it was the worst with the same intensity. Kind of like a student ship: the best moments of your youth, and the worst that you keep trying to forget, living towards your future and believing most of all in chance, but thinking that at least you got to live the slogan “Liberty and justice for all”: Words that you can still find everywhere around till these days, when ever is a political campaign on the planet. It seems that's the only time when the slogan is really need it.
It is true, and it still most frequent coming from the New World, as this land has a patent on it; after all they invented the commercial market, the advertising, the pop culture, they went on the moon, meanwhile inventing a few nice cars. In my book, they invented what we live now, and we seem to like it. With everything they did they also re-invented the “Freedom” all over again. They free their slaves, and taught us the Europeans how to live without handy help. They told the help they had the same rights, and later on when help from Europe started trouble they called it Communism in order not to get their masses back at the same table. They fought hard to extinct it and started with the artists. They cheated at poker and became the good guys.

With that example set and young enough not to question it very much, I began my integration into the democratic system a little earlier than the folks back home. A few good tricks learned back home, as the English language, a knowledge about the western arts and the taste for democracy got in handed when I thought of what should I do. Being a film geek and an aspiring artist I thought writing scripts would be most appropriate for a modern world where painting was fading. It sounded good. I moved from telling static stories on the white canvas to writing moving pictures on an old Triumph and Adler. It already felt professional. Got myself the all breads and butters from the written market, and begin to study. Among the news adds at the back pages of the specialty magazines I one day landed on a news add: "Dutch Company looking for a writer to write a on spec". I liked the idea, not yet knowing how these things really work and I sent my own script to the Company. They liked it, or at least that is what they said and got me into a competition to write the script they needed. They wanted an adaptation from Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. Interesting novel and interesting task I thought. I have read it already at the time. Their only request was that they wanted to be set in the future or at least in the present time. It took me a while to chose what path I should take. All that, mostly because as soon as I began my research, I found out what Oscar Wilde’s story was really about.

Finally I thought that the future was a more appropriate space I should develop my story and much to my liking. It took me about 6 months of writing and rewriting and it is still unfinished to this day if anybody would ask my personal opinion. I realized that as years passed by, I’ve seen that the task to cope with Wilde's writing was a damn hard one. But I haven’t given it up. I fought with my ideas, of what should it be about, of how deep should I go into it, and finally I decided it should be about greed and power instead of beauty and power: An even harder task I thought and worthy of Oscar Wilde. I really believed that greed would suit the future better, for as the next most common behavior of the human being.

I was desperate to find something that will really tell me about greed. Power I knew; I was coming from somewhere where power like that was in place, some just read it in George Orwell's books, but greed I could feel more than I could say I knew. I read lots of stuff and finally with a visit to my grandma’s house I got my hands on the Orthodox Bible. Unfortunately for as much as I could understand at that early age I found something else in there. I found a story format that I liked, based on denial in order to be proven mysterious, magic, or holy and become believable. I set on to writing and thought that that structure was a good one for making my story strong and appealing to the public. I also thought I found a way in surprising the audience at the end, a very hard thing to do in a adaptation on some piece as good as Dorian Gray. I often loose myself in to the idea that in order to make something good you have to start a challenge with the original; even if that could be your maker.

I’ve written the script and passed all my challengers, if there were any of them left to pass and got myself into preparing the last draft in my best English at that time. I knew that I had to send a good written script and I was afraid sometimes that I could be misunderstood if my writing was not good enough. I didn’t want it to be philosophical or get some one to use a DEX to understand it. I wanted to be simple, right to the point, image descriptive more than words descriptive. Once the script got into a form I liked, I start looking for an english man who could read the script and tell me what he felt about it. Both about the story and the language I was using.

I found the guy. The perfect middle age English man living in the neighborhood, working for a car dealership, married with a local woman. The guy had it all. He was middle class audience, bragging about english literature being his mostly than other’s, a guy who lived a perfectly balanced life in a perfect democratic system: the market my film was intended for in the first place.

It took another 6 months to meet the guy again: He was still coming to the supermarket, but he seemed to avoid me every time I showed up. Finally I cornered the guy and ask him if he read my script. He told me he has only started it and had to put it down because I was a blasphemous writer and he couldn’t read that because it was against his believes. I knew right away what I did against his liking. I did insulted the man although was not my intention. He was part of a religious group that didn’t let them use blasphemies or even think about it. Their belief was telling them that just by thinking that God doesn’t exist it was a blasphemy. Part of me was happy because I understood that my message was sent right to the target. I understood right away that my english was clear enough if he got it. But part of me was sad though because it had to be him the one I chose to read my script. I turned around and told him about my finding in the Bible, about how I thought that would work with the wider audience because I thought that if that book is written like that and is so popular it meant it had a good structure that I should follow: The book itself denies the mystic power in order to find it later towards the end. Simple structure: "ask a question in order to be answered". The man read the rest of the script next day and told me he liked it and I was right to think that way.

I realized then that the freedom I was looking for was not to be found in the system that I was living in, it was neither lost in the one I was trying to run away from. I realized that trying to think differently might cause a problem everywhere if I am not taking the time to explain my intentions. I realized that many times just by asking yourself about things that seem to be taboo to others can cause harm and burn some people toes. Since then I was looking for that “Liberty and Justice for all” with different eyes. I keep finding pieces, in selected music tones, selected writings, or certain film plots, basically among all forms of art, and I still ask myself to this day: Why did Americans began eradicating Communism back in the 50' in their country with their artists? Wouldn't that be because the artists are the voice of freedom? Weren't they the ones that bother the rest with their questions, with their quest in finding the truth? Shouldn't they been protected for they might have found the real truth? I guess next time we just gotta make sure how those questions about freedom come out of our mouths; if there will ever be such a thing like "a next time" now that we seem to get closer to the end of this civilization.

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