I like a good TV programme and my TV hard drive will show you the ones that I really like to watch. I have recently watched some amazing films such as Temple Grandin, The Kingdom, and series like The Secret Caribbean with Sir Trevor McDonald; I also had a series link on Monk (for years) and I am currently recording the first series of Six Feet Under – I know! What a variety bag.
Some of these programmes make me laugh, think and sometimes cry.
I’ve been told that I cry a lot when I see emotive things on the screen. They could be happy tears or sad tears, but they usually flow in empathy for the feelings displayed on the TV.
Something really odd happened to me a few months ago, it was in February I think, I settled down to watch a pre-recorded drama that had had a suitably big build up by the producers. I was expecting an intriguing story but I got something totally different.
Within 10 minutes of watching the programme I found that I was almost howling with despair; I could not believe what I had seen in front of me. Through the unexpected tears I managed to find the remote control and rewound the recording to check that this was the correct programme.
I was watching The Promise, broadcast by Channel 4 earlier this year and the images on the screen so distressed me that I was unable to focus or register the scenes until I had watched them about three times. At first I thought it was actors but then I realised that this was actual real newsreel from the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. The Jewish people shown on the screen were so emaciated I had trouble believing that they were real. Those who were not yet dead – and many thousands lay dead on the ground – were in such a bad condition that you could almost see through them.
I saw them cling to life. I saw some who had obviously just died because they couldn’t breathe any more. I saw their bodies being dragged, carried and dumped into open pits. The ones not moved by hand were pushed along unceremoniously by bulldozers into mass graves. The bones that held the small amount of flesh that remained tore like fragile rice paper as they fell.
I wept copiously.
Each time I remember those scenes I shiver in horror and the same thing happens when I see what devastating harm one man can inflict upon another man. I was only a witness through the television screen over 60 years after the event and still I felt the impact of their painful existence.
War inevitably brings about death. It is always horrible.
After the events of the past day, as I hear about people celebrating death, I have found myself thinking about this programme again and I still can’t find anything to smile about when I think of death as a result of war.