You can notice many adventure and philantropic programs shown on a TV nowadays. It has become a sort of mainstream format of program making. Probably emotional stories full of drama are selling easily, and spectators have naturally inner sense of humanity which tends to feel pity for someone. You understand that this concept of a program is definitely a real gold mine for producers and media companies. What comes to sincerity – let the responsibility for it lie with all who are creating this kind of programs, especially with hosts and their conscience. In my opinion a human shouldn’t be skeptic or cynic, but sometimes we have to analyse what is happening around us. Not just criticise but also analyse and give rational arguments. Then we’ll see a light in the end of the tunnel.
There was a nice rencontre with a Finnish adventure documentary Arman ja viimeinen ristiretki (Arman and the last crusade) in 2013. Without any flattery, the documentary was grand succès in Finland, and it surprised with its authenticity and love towards foreign cultures and ”forgotten” and ”little” people of our brave new world. Arman Alizad, a creator, producer and host of the adventure program travelled, sincerely said, to the most desolate and brutal places on the planet with his fellow and cameraman Tuukka Tiensuu. Arman presented and Tuukka captured in an apparatus cinematograficus a total opposite of the Western world and society.
Although fates of people living in these poor and not desirable to anyone quarters (slums and favelas in Cambodia, Brazil and Philippines; little society of nomads in Northern Siberia; streets and burial ceremony places in India; little village in Benin; little family in the Himalaya mountains in Nepal) are full of misery, tragedy and violence, Arman shows their inner happiness, love, solidarity and hospitality even towards a stranger. He says: ”My aim was to show to people, especially here in Finland, that comparing to living environments and standards of the places I’ve been to, here we probably haven’t problems at all. We forget to appreciate and thank for what we have. There are more worse problems and grievances in other places on our planet than here.” This is what took me on this journey to the end of the soul.
What is totally different from any other program that has been done especially in Finland, is a sort of sacrifice of the host. Arman wants to experience the reality of those who have to deal every day with waste, drugs, guns, violence, freezing cold, illness, death, misery, fear, humiliation and unfairness. While a garbage truck is collecting trash in Western world, on the contrary in Cambodia, little children who should go to the school and have a fun with other kids are doing the same job manually without any protected gloves, just with their naked miniature fingers. They haven’t seen and touched any iPhone. They can only dream about it, but not buy it, and what is heart breaking – they are conscious about this ugly reality and destiny.
Although Arman knows that while collecting trash there is a high risk to get sticked or stabbed by an infected fix, he is experiencing without any cuts the same everyday life of the little ones and other people. During a presentation of a book Armanin maailma (Arman’s world) on a highly popular book and publishing exhibition Helsinki Book Fair in 2014 Arman answered to a question why he didn’t use protected gloves: ”Imagine, how could I, an adult, use gloves next to children!” While changing few words with Arman on Helsinki Book Fair I saw in him a little boy with shining eyes, a little boy who is open-minded to new adventures, challenges, dreams and brighter times. It is almost like in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, one of the top best-selling books ever published, where Saint-Ex writes: ”Only children know what they are looking for.”
The book Armanin maailma tells in a more detailled way about Arman’s experiences in above mentioned places and his former TV project Kill Arman which airs in over 100 countries worldwide. In latter one Arman travels around the world and trains with famous masters of martial arts, and finally fights them. Without any mercy Arman gets his ass kicked. He doesn’t give up, and here arises Arman’s frequently used philosophical advice: “The most important in your life is not how many times you have been smacked down, but how many times you have risen.” Arman’s own life has a great importance in the book. He encourages to live NOW, in this moment and to take everything what life gives you today and not yesterday or tomorrow. “Perfection is a path, not a goal. It is wisdom by what I have always tried to live”, says Arman. Because of many quite provocative opinions and tweets, Arman is misunderstood and criticised sometimes. He knows that and continues to run through the fire without any doubt. Arman is loved and hated, but inspite of all he believes in his mission, and I know that he is making the world better place to live.
It is a natural part of our reality: there will be always someone who will abuse you despite you are doing even good things. Saint-Ex writes: “Language is the source of misunderstandings.” There will be always negative things in air. News report daily about wars, accidents, murders and economic crises even though there are much more things full of light to report about. If someone abuses you, please, do not respond to his aggression. Just be quiet even it feels impossible. Silence has a great power. It changes you and consequently your environment to better, and gives hope to this world. Hold it tight.
To be a man is to be responsible: to be ashamed of miseries you did not cause; to be proud of your comrades’ victories; to be aware, when setting one stone, that you are building a world.
Être homme, c’est précisément être responsable. C’est connaître la honte en face d’une misère qui ne semblait pas dépendre de soi. C’est être fier d’une victoire que les camarades ont remportée. C’est sentir, en posant sa pierre, que l’on contribue à bâtir le monde.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – (Wind, Sand and Stars)