More than a story

‘Its only a story’. Isn’t that what we tell children as they snuggle down under the duvet after a tale of ogres, dragons and trapped princesses?  Years later we tell ourselves the same thing as the credits roll on a scary movie or a gritty television drama. Its a coping strategy, but its also an anaesthetic. Over time it anaesthetizes us to the fact that occasionally a story is closer to the truth than we might like to imagine.

On his blog today, David Westlake, Tearfund’s Integral Mission Director, reflects on the Hunger Games phenomenon on the eve of its launch in cinemas worldwide. Since the book was originally written by Suzanne Collins in 2008, it has been translated into 26 languages and sold in 38 countries.  Friday March 23rd sees the launch of the first in the series of films.

With its gripping depiction of a post-apocalyptic world where children must fight to the death for food in an Olympic style arena, he describes it as :Big Brother meets the East Africa food crisis. He then goes on to describe how the characters are defined by their hunger before hitting the real crunch point:

The Hunger Games tells a story of a future that doesn’t exist…yet.  But themes of hunger, violence and poverty do exist, right now, in all over the world.Read on here for more of David’s profound insights on the real hunger games being played out around the world right now, and how we should respond to them.

Every time I teach people about the use of storytelling I have to remind them that calling something a story does not necessarily mean it is untrue. For many centuries and in many cultures story has been a vehicle for the truth rather than a distraction from it. The Hunger Games may prove to be just such a story – a vehicle for the uncomfortable truth that the world is unequally divided, and hunger is not a game.

To engage more with the true story of the hunger games, visit http://www.tearfund.org/hungergames

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