Yesterday, we watched, ‘The Mauritanian,’ – a 2021 film, based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was detained at Guantanamo Bay prison for fourteen years without charge. He won the right to be free after a court verdict in 2008 which proved he was not involved in the Spetember 11 attacks but was detained under the Obama administration again for another 7 years only to be released in 2016. The movie is like so many others we’ve seen of people wrongly detained by the United States after 9/11 except for one thing. The actor, Tahar Rahim who plays Mohamedou has the most cheerful face which is hard to digest given the circumstance he is in and the torture he is put through in the prison. For a moment I thought it was the actor’s physical attributes that made him appear that way. However, at the end of the film, they show the real Mohamedou free in Mauritania, and he has the exact same cheerfulness about him. There is a joie de vivre that is hard to comprehend.
You must watch the movie to understand to reinforce the faith that faith can move mountains and can defy age and hardship. For all those who prefer reading, Mohamedou has written a book about his time in the prison ‘Guantanamo Diary’ which is a bestseller. I don’t think I’ll read the book though because I can’t stomach the details of torture. The movie was good enough to know what man can achieve if he remains positive and hopeful and bears no grudge. In his hearing at the court, Mohamedou tells the judge that he bears no grudge towards all those who hurt him and he prays for forgiveness for himself and for all those who tortured him. It’s inspiring because it’s not fiction but reality. It made me think why is it so difficult for us to forgive those who’ve hurt us unknowingly- maybe somebody we expected to be there by our side when we needed them wasn’t there, or maybe someone whose call we waited for did not call or maybe we remember somebody who hurt us in our childhood – an aunt or an uncle by the power of words. Little things that we carry around all our lives creating a load within us. The heaviness of that load translates into a tiredness that shows in the eyes which we then try to cover up with eye gells, face masks and concealers when all we need to do is drop the load.
Watch ‘The Mauritanian,’ and maybe it’ll help you take a conscious decision to let go of your own load. Because you cannot believe in God and hold grudges. That’s something he says in the movie and I realize its true.
Faith is what has kept us going through all that’s happened to us and around us during the last one and a half years. Hold on to it and you will reach the shore.
Stay safe. Stay blessed.
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