Marda Loop Justice Film Festival 2019

The day began like this…

For several years now, I’ve been attending the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival and previewed films that are very telling about events happening in our world that might inspire deeper thought and potentially, positive action.  At the very least, seeing these films, opens up conversation about the complex issues facing our global neighbours.

At the festival, there is a marketplace of organizations that we can connect with, a choice of a couple of lunch items and a table of books for purchase as well as recommendations that relate to social justice and stewardship in our world.

At the Marketplace booths, I supported the Alberta Wilderness Association and purchased myself a cozy new hoodie.

This year’s films included One Child Nation by award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow, I Am Another You) and Jialing Zhang.  I was left speechless and while viewing, wept in the dark.

Next, Conviction, Written and directed by NANCE ACKERMAN & ARIELLA PAHLKE & TERESA MACINNES.  I enjoyed the format of this one where female inmates carried movie cameras and their bits of film were stitched into the documentary, leaving several very poignant connections to tell the narrative.  While the films address issues that are very challenging and oft-times-sad, I think that it’s important to confront society’s approach to tackling problems.  I’m always impressed that no matter the issue, there is a good heart(s) trying to make a difference.  We must never stop trying.

An exceptional documentary titled, Because We Are Girls by film maker, Baljit Sangra, was next.  This movie was particularly moving to me.  What brave ladies!  I was also so very happy that Baljit, as well as the ladies, were with us for the moderation of the discussion/question period.  I’m not contributing a monologue about any of the topics of this blog post today…just want to document…and I highly recommend that you take any opportunity to view these films.


The final film was set in Burma.  In Myanmar, which consists of 135 ethnic minorities, Rohingya Muslims do not officially exist. Despite historical evidence of their belonging to the Rakhine state, they are denied the rights of citizenship and confined to living in ghettos. Oh my goodness!  I am disappointed in myself for not knowing what has been happening for the people of Burma all of these years.  Such horrors inflicted upon one another!  What is with the heart of humanity that sees only differences…sees only ‘the other’….and believes that power can be used to crush the other?  Another genocide is revealed in Exiled.

I am so grateful to have shared these documentaries with Pat, Janet and Mary.  Pat, thank you for the peanut butter chocolates, that perfect slice of fruit cake between films and that tasty bit of cheese.  I know that after I have sat with the content for some time, I will have a more honest view of these issues when encountering others.

I did not wait for the discussion about the last film, but booted it out in order to enjoy a birthday dinner at Wendy’s.  I thought, as I drove, that I did not want to talk about the films.  I wanted to celebrate Lauraine and have fun with this circle of people who I care about so much.  I think that in life, we have the opportunity to live the present with good intention…to laugh, share conversation and humour, eat good food and relish in the company of our circle.  I am a blessed lady!  Thanks to Dan and Wendy for providing us with the opportunity to love one another!  It all began with a nice glass of wine!

The fish on plank…oh my…it was flavourful!  (good story, going forward!)

The buffet! Happy Birthday,Lauraine!

Cake, made by Dan!  Yummers!  Make a wish, Lauraine!

Hi, Steven and Stephen!  Thank you for the delicious salad!

These, dehydrated tomatoes from backyard summer garden…just so beautiful.

My life is full of blessings.  I am grateful for good health, everything I could dream to enjoy in terms of my basic needs, friendships and acceptance, safety for my family.  I live in peace.  I pray for those who suffer the traumas and labours of a life where there is injustice and brutality, loss…so much loss.  I was born into a country where I am safe.  It is crucial that we focus on our nation…and not on anything that divides us.  The world over should inform who we are.

Love, As it’s Made to Be

seuss quote

Some days it’s a challenge to walk, with head up, and believe.  Daily, religion is axed for its sad history and the way that man has toyed with religious intention…and in the name of religion; lives have been ruined, people have been killed, souls of children have been ripped out and lies have been rationalized to the ignorant.  One can NEVER justify the mistakes of the past.  For the record, I CAN NOT.

But I AM a RELIGIOUS being.  Will you forgive ME the mistakes of the past…or even the present…of other RELIGIOUS beings…and stop attacking me, ridiculing me, mocking me, excluding me, rolling your eyes at me…will you respect my desire to connect with the intentions of my Lord?  Will you trust me…the individual…just me…to do everything in my power to live a good life?  Will you let me be as free to see the world from my own viewpoint as I will try to respect you with your views?

Who among you are Muslim?  Who, Buddhist?  Who, free-thinking new ager?  Who, Catholic?  Who, Protestant?  Who, atheist? Who, agnostic?  When I meet you, I do not ask what you believe.  I embrace you…because this is what my particular religious beliefs tell me to do.  I am Catholic.  While I do not condone the mistakes and perversions of some who have led and taught and misguided in the Catholic church, I hold fast to the words of Jesus.  He had none of these intentions for his people.  Do not judge me for remaining in his love and his intention.  Look at me.  See me.

On the heart of everything that my priest-friend, Father Seamus O’Carroll OMI, believed and lived and hoped for, I need to go forward with my own beliefs and rise above the horrific mistakes of the past…the sins of the Residential Schools, the rattled knuckles and hurt knees of Catholic School students, the molestation of children, the inaction and lack of remorse from church leaders, the hypocrisy.   I can not fathom that in today’s world, human beings have not learned from past mistakes.  But this…this is not because of religion, this is because of human choice and free will.  We are a sorry lot if we look at where that free will has taken us.!  I want to serve God, love and mend.

Feed the Hungry.  Clothe the Naked.  Have Compassion.  Care for the little ones.  Give patience to the aged.  Bring water to the thirsty.  Care for one another.

Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons

Serve God, love me and mend
This is not the end
Lived unbruised, we are friends
And I’m sorry
I’m sorry

Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea and one on shore
My heart was never pure
And you know me
You know me

But man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing

Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

Like fresh air, this arrived in my mailbox.