China Diary

Day 15: A more peaceful world

Ah, nice to be back in my own quarters, instead of the crappy Qingdao hotel. I slept like a baby the whole night, and erased some of the sleep debt that had been cumulating over the few weeks. It finally seems my jetlag has reached its’ peak and now we’re on a slope down towards normality.

Nothing much had changed in the Beijing office. I met quickly an actor and discussed with Mika the script in depth, and then all the ADs disappeared, one by one, into Max’s office, and few hours later I got the message that the meeting is going to run late and our plans for a Korean BBQ experience was to be ditched for the night.

It was OK for us, we found a little joint close by and had a decent dinner, idly chatting and then back to our place for some rest. The production meeting ended somewhere around midnight and Lei informed me that all the locations we chose were approved (yay!) and we’ll be shooting major part of the movie in Qingdao, either soundstages or on locations (yay, too!), and that we now have the starting date, at least it’s something we’re aiming for: 17th of October. We never know if it holds, but if there’s a common goal, everything is much easier.

And then there are the terrorist attacks, in Barcelona this time.

The people who fell victims – who didn’t succumb under the wave of terrorism and decided not to fear, decided to go out that day to do whatever they wanted in their lives, should be treated with just as much respect as the war heroes who died in the field of battle fighting for the freedom of their country. They were fighting with their own existence against the threat of terrorism, which has been amplified by the far-right fearmongering and headline-hungry media. They didn’t survive, and that’s the real tragedy, but they stood, unknowingly but still decidedly, bravely until the end. We can honor their sacrifice by doing the same, by not giving in on the fear of terrorism. The real battle against it will be fought not with weapons, but by education, social security and stable governments. Ongoing wars are doing exactly the opposite.

One day, we will learn. But that day hasn’t come yet, so more casualties will come.

Still, I’d like to remind us of the fact that for the first time, we in the most peaceful era in history, as writer Yuval Noah Harari noted:

“We now live in the most peaceful era in history. There is definitely still violence – I live in the Middle East so I know this perfectly well. But, comparatively, there is less violence than ever before in history. Today more people die from eating too much than from human violence, which is really an amazing achievement.”

The whole Guardian interview is a good read, as is his book Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind, and – although I haven’t read it yet – the follow-up, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow seems to be a worthy read as well.

And then there’s the other, unrelated event of random violence in Finland. A guy went out on a knifing frenzy in the city of Turku in Finland, killing two and wounding 8 others. Knife attacks are nowadays more rare in Finland – the used to be the norm in Pohjanmaa some hundred years ago – but mass killings are not completely unheard of. Remains to be seen what are the facts around this event, police hasn’t been very informative so far.

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