I was watching the film SLUM DOG MILLIONAIRE (2008) when I was disturbed to witness a scene that reminded me of my childhood horror when watching Walt Disney’s PINOCCHIO for the first time.
In the classic cartoon of PINOCCHIO (1940), if you recall, there is a scene in which Pinocchio and many other run-away or street boys have been become the victims of a child exploitation ring. Those boys and Pinocchio become donkeys (or jackasses).Imagine what went through the mind of this 5 year old viewer who could imagine such a thing actually happening!
In SLUM DOG MILLIONAIRE, there is a similarly horrific scene when street children in India are herded out of the horrid garbage dumps where they live into a sort of camp for orphaned and abandoned children in a beautiful secluded forest in India.
As in the Pinocchio tale, these children were turned into stooges and victims of street gangs who taught them to beg, steal and manipulate others for profit.
In this Indian camp, the children too are fattened up to become manipulated as Indian slaves and worse. For example, some of the children are sacrificed for their body parts.
During the viewing of the SLUM DOG film, as one character has his eyes plucked out, I both recoiled and recalled scenes from the classic Eastern European novel, THE PAINTED BIRD, by Jerzy Kozinski.
(Poor Kozinski almost got knocked-off by the Helter Skelter crowd of Charles Manson followers, as Jerzy Kozinski was a friend of the Tates back in 1969.)
That classic story by Kozinski takes place in Poland during the Nazi occupation 1939-1945.
In this somewhat autobiographical tale, the author tells what it was like for a young Jewish boy to be on the run for 6 years under the Nazi regime and in a society where racism was raved about with a passion.
In this period, as one sees in many of the survivors tales of the early 1940s I Poland, the run-away boys were helped by some—but persecuted by many.
Poking an eye out was also part of this story.WHAT AM I GETTING TO?
What am I getting at?
Well, real life seems to be trying to trump film and fiction again.
This very week in Germany both the federal government’s home ministry and Germany’s constitutional court banned the right extremist group, Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend (HDJ) or HOME-TRUE GERMAN YOUTH and its many summer camps for youth.
The HDJ has been training or schooling German youth in racist ideology for several years at various camps—mostly in Eastern Germany. In these camps, “fragile egg shell minds” of German youth were educated to see foreigners and Jews as a threat to the entire German community.