Will We Ever Learn From History?

Along with many others, I recently made a trip to the cinema to see the much-anticipated finale of the Hunger Games Trilogy -Mockingjay part 2. I was glued to my seat throughout the entire performance, eyes stuck on the screen taking it all in, and having read the books I couldn’t help looking for specific events and occasions I couldn’t wait to see come to life. I’m not a movie critic, but it didn’t disappoint.

In fact, this post isn’t about the movie at all, but something that relates to it. I’m an avid fan of dystopian science fiction, whether it be Orwell or teen trilogies such as The Hunger Games, I can’t get enough. As a politics student, I think this is mainly because of how incredibly similar and relatable it can all be. Most people snigger and laugh at this, claiming that the Hunger Games is so out there it could never be true. But isn’t the idea of the games themselves taken from what happened in ancient Rome with their Gladiators? Except maxed out with the help of the invention of reality TV? How is it so hard to happen within the back-story that it could happen. It’s not the first of its kind to suggest that.

1984 discusses a population living in fear of an all-seeing power, which to hit the nail on the head got turned into a reality TV show itself. It started as an experiment but as a sick twist of events became so popular people still tune in to watch it every year. An early episode of Black Mirror also depicts a society in which television and reality TV rules all, and even an episode of doctor who took it a step further by showing reality TV causing death for losing contestants. All these depictions are set in a dystopian world where everything has gone wrong, but with the British government’s recent decision to bomb innocent people in a struggling country, I really don’t think this type of world world is all too far away.

When I first heard the decision of the UK government to bomb Syria this morning, a specific scene comes to mind. It occurs right at the beginning of the third novel in the trilogy, Mockingjay, where Katniss, the protagonist, is standing in the ruins of her district, bombed to shreds where all around she can see death and destruction. The district has been bombed by the capitol, not only to teach her a lesson, but in the hope that with it they can destroy the threat to the security of the Capitol, the rebels. When you turn the tables to our current international situation, is it really that different? Yes, there is a serious terrorist organisation operating, but the destruction of their lives, their families and innocent people is not going to quiet them. Just as it fuels the resistance in the novels, it is going to create a thirst for blood from those living in Syria that might not ever be quenched. This is how terrorist organisations start in the first place, this is why people become violent and decide to fight by whatever means necessary.

We create terrorism by making stupid decisions such as this one. It makes me wonder if we’ll ever make the right decision, otherwise a dystopian nightmare might be closer than we think.


“We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction”

  • Plutarch Heavensbee, The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins.

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