The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—What Strange Paradise & Lead Me Home

Mar 28, 2022

Book: What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad, 2021

This award-winning book begins with the images of refugees washed up on the shore of an island, perhaps Greece, drowned in their attempt to escape famine caused by climate change or the terror of war. It presents the story mainly from the viewpoint of two children, one a refugee, one a local, and their bond. It is a lens to experience the horror of the journey in an overcrowded flimsy boat, and yet flips back and forth from that horror to life on the island and, with courage, a possibility for a better future, told through the eyes of the children. With beautiful writing, the author poses the dilemma, what way forward?

Film: Lead Me Home, 2021

Lead Me Home, available on Netflix, directed by Emmy-winning directors Jon Shenk and Pedro Kos, Oscar-nominated documentary, 2021.

This compelling and haunting short film features the homeless telling their own personal stories. It juxtaposes their individual life struggles with panoramas of the sprawling city of Los Angeles. It zooms in on people living in their homes drinking coffee, living their lives, and then zooms out again to aerial views of mile after mile of homeless encampments. Over half a million are homeless in Los Angeles and the number is climbing. This poetic examination shows the struggles of the homeless against starvation wages, crippling addiction, violent sexual abuse, unemployment, PTSD, discrimination, and ever-rising high rent. The film lays bare the fact that capitalism has no answer for any of this, and it’s growing ever worse.