Sunday, March 20, 2011
No Place for Kids or Mules
I watched a remarkable film about hardship last night, kids. It is about a family of children trying to survive on their own, on the Iran-Iraq border in the mountains, in unimaginable conditions, after their parents' death. To make money to save the life of their disabled brother, the oldest son joins those smuggling goods across the border. This involves dangerous treks over the snowy mountains, including attacks by bandits.
The title refers to the donkeys the smugglers load up with staggeringly heavy burdens, including two gigantic truck tires per donkey. They put alcohol into the water they give the donkeys before they begin, to give them some heart for the impossible journey. Some of the harshest scenes involve donkeys staggering and falling under the loads.
I watched the unimaginable hardship in fascinated horror, the more so because this was filmed recently, using the people and children who actually live there, not actors, so what I was witnessing was actually happening in reality. Such terrible hardship, such a struggle to survive.
I came away thinking you don't want to be a kid or a mule in those conditions.