Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tip#379: Feel Empathy – G20 Toronto Pt.8 – The Green Mile
In part 7 of my G20 experience, other detainees and I had been suffocating and air slowly filled our bus compartment (see tip#379). After waiting about an hour in the police bus parked inside the detention centre we were escorted one by one by officers to sit on the concrete floor in rows. I still did not have my prescription glasses (police took them away) so everything was a blur.
The police allowed those who needed to go to the bathroom to be led to portable toilets with doors left open. Despite having to undo my fly with handcuffs on it was a heavenly feeling to relieve myself. I didn't care if officers were watching. It was a blissful moment.
Soon each of our assigned numbers were called out and we were released with our belongings still in plastic police bags. I hoped my camera was still safe with the footage I shot of the riot police (see here). But I was just happy I was now being escorted out of what I thought was the main detention centre. To my surprise I was taken down a maze of corridors that opened up to an unbelievable scene.
It was like something out of a horror movie. I found myself in a vast warehouse space with countless cells. Through my blurred vision I could make out many people in dog-like cages and galvanized sheets of metal. I was stunned. As the officer escorted me down the maze of corridors (still in handcuffs) I'd hear crying and calls for help from the prisoners.
There was one caged girl I passed close enough to see the despair, fear and pain on her face. She looked so alone and hopeless. I deeply felt for her and wished I could have comforted her in some way.
The Green Mile 1999
The Stephen King movie The Green Mile is about a wrongfully accused prisoner named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) and his experience in a 1930's penitentiary. The head prison guard, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) becomes empathetic to Coffey as he expresses a deep innocence and later demonstrates a profound gift for healing others.
Coffey heals Edgecomb of an ailment and also the Warden's terminally ill wife. He even resurrects a crushed mouse. Coffey had the ability to help others even though he was imprisoned himself. I wished I could have somehow helped that one girl I saw in the detention centre. I could empathize with the pain she must have been going through.
Going through a traumatic experience can help you build powerful mindsets like resilience, perseverance and optimism. They can also activate your empathy for others going through similar experiences. Connecting emotionally with others is what leads to building a stronger sense of community among strangers.
Dire situations have a way of bonding people. Be empathic to others you feel an emotional connection to. And, if you can, reach out with a helping hand.
See photos of inside the detention centre:
1) Click here
2) Click here
Read my G20 Toronto Experience:
Part 1: Click here
Part 2: Click here
Part 3: Click here
Part 4: Click here
Part 5: Click here
Part 6: Click here
Part 7: Click here
Part 8: Click here
Part 9: Click here
Part 10: Click here
Part 11: Click here
Part 12: Click here
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