Many people compared Babel to Crash and Magnolia because of its story line about the intersection between the lives of disparate groups of people, and on a superficial level the comparison is valid. But what made Babel stand apart from every other film was the fact that it showed how we are all connected not only in one city or one state, but that we as global citizens are connected. Babel is the first movie that truly reflects our interconnected world as it is. The actions of someone in Japan affects the lives of those in Morroco and Mexico and San Diego. The actions of someone wherever you are has repercussions all over the world, and watching Babel reminds you of that simple fact of our modern and globalized life.
A real life example is my Sri Lankan home girl, Uma, who has woken up from her three week coma much to the surprise of doctors who thought she would never wake up, and she would never demonstrate any cognitive functions again. Uma is proving them wrong every day. Why? Firstly because Uma is a fighter, this is the most important thing. And secondly because people have banded together from literally all over the world to pray for her and send her good energy. Uma’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle, but it’s not a miracle. Uma’s recovery teaches us that the prayers of someone far, far away from her, when combined with the prayers of someone else far, far away have had the power to help her heal. To help her not lose hope. To keep her spirit strong and fighting. In three days, more than $20,000 was raised to help rent an air ambulance to take Uma home to LA! I heard many of the donations were strangers to Uma’s family and friends. I mean, WOW!
Maybe people didn’t like Babel because they couldn’t really see the connections in their own lives. Maybe, in spite of the brilliant performances, the excellent writing, and the genius vision of the story, people still couldn’t make that link to their own life and how they are connected to everyone in this planet in some small way, or some big way they can’t even see. But Uma is reminding us of how connected we are on a much more real level. People hear about her story, a 27-year-old with a burst brain aneurysm who was in a coma in the hospital, and somehow this struck a chord in people’s hearts. People are praying, people who don’t even know her are sending her get well cards, they are sending money!
Uma is a real life example of Babel. How we are all connected and how, in a crisis, even strangers will feel the need to pay it forward, to help someone in such dire need with whatever they have to offer. Babel reminded us that we are all connected in a real and tangible way. Uma reminds us that from here on out, we will feel connected in a real and tangible way.