Paper Clips - Changing the World, One Clip at a Time

It's no secret, society as a whole is failing. Not to turn a music blog into a forum for my political views, but we live in a society full of greed, ignorance and apathy. Finding stories that encourage hope and compassion are few and far between. In a fitting comparison, while one person uses the power of a paper clip to generate notority and personal gain, another group of students uses a paperclip to break down the walls of ignorance and hate.

Last night, we watched the amazing documentary, Paper Clips. The story is empowering in its simplicity. A group of student in Whitwell, Tennessee started a project about the Holocaust. At the start, neither the students nor the teachers knew much about the Holocaust, but in an attempt to quantify how many Jews were killed, the students attempted to collect 6 million paperclips. You might ask, "so?" Well, the big deal is Whitwell is a town where the majority of the people have never met a Jewish person, and live in a world full of stereotypes (both their own perception of the world and the perceptions of people growing up in the South).

The project has ups and downs, but the result is uplifting. I think this is a movie everyone should see, so I don't want to give away any of the plot, but this movie helps solidify one crucial idea: One person can make a difference. So many things are going wrong in today's world, and when it comes to voting, the environment, bigotry, ignorance - when it comes to anything really - people tend to just assume that they can't change the opinions of the powers that be. Instead of doing something, we all do nothing. These kids show how much power we all have. A project in a small town that people in Tennessee don't even know about somehow inspired people all over the world. This film isn't a sophisticated documentary. The interviews are almost hokey; so is the music used in the film, but In my mind, this only strengthens the message. The film wasn't made to make money, it was simply a story that needed to be told.

The Holocaust needs to be remembered. We are at the time in life, where the number of survivors of these atrocities are few and far between. Once these people are gone, the only way to remember these victims is through stories like Paper Clips. Ignorance and apathy are the two worst facits of life, and this story helps show how important each person can be. I don't like to recommend movies, especially documentaries, but this movie is one everyone should see.

For some great books about the Holocaust, jump over to read what Leah and Charles at Ashcan Rantings have been blogging about.

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