Hunger Games, Russell Brand, Haass talks and sacrifice.


One of my favourite films of 2013 was the second instalment of the Hunger Games trilogy – Catching Fire. This for fans of the book was the one we had been waiting for. As books go it was the real page turner of the three. As films go it for me was a great addition to the category of sequels that are better than the first film.

One of the reasons I loved the film so much was the recurring theme of self sacrifice which really got me thinking.  Throughout the film people are sacrificing themselves in order to ensure that Katniss survives because she is the catalyst for a revolution an essential cog in the wheel of change. 

The comedian Russell Brand recently spoke of ‘revolution’ and his issues with government in an interview. In the course of this (and I’m paraphrasing) he stated he did not believe in voting as the system will not change.

I like Russell, I think he is miscast by many and misunderstood he is highly intelligent and can verbalize his thought  process in a way that make me green with envy. However, on this point I do not believe that he is correct. I believe that engagement with the ‘process’ and voting for those whose main objective is for the common good of all citizens is essential in order to change the society for the better.

Haass talks have been and gone in Northern Ireland and sadly issues around flags, dealing with the past and parading remain unresolved. Many are disappointed and angered by this lack of resolution.

Twitter yesterday was an interesting place to be. There were many rants, there were requests for referendums and there was a wide spectrum of comment from all sides. I don’t want to get into the issues themselves, wiser more intelligent commentators than I can do that (and Stephen Nolan will have a go too).However the overwhelming sense I took form looking at social media was that the majority wanted this to work, the majority wish to move on, the majority want revolution. 

Which brings me back to the Hunger Games and sacrifice. The history of Northern Ireland shows a tribal voting pattern based on an ideology of protecting the interests of your community by voting for those that represent ‘your side’.

The next time elections are called would it not be sacrificial to abandon tribal leanings and weigh up the pros and cons of each party on their merits and place an X in the box for those striving for the common good?

Is that not how politics and elections should work in an ideal scenario?

Is this not a biblical way of voting and engaging with politics, loving our neighbour and sacrificing our own self interest in order to see the common good for all?

I don’t want a Hunger Games style revolution and I don’t believe that Russell Brand  is correct in his assertion that revolution will come through means other than a ballot box.

I believe that a revolution in Northern Ireland can only come through the abandonment of self interest and the application of sacrifice. The Haas talks didn’t bring the resolution many longed  for but maybe they could be the spark to a bigger revolution. 


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