Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sins of My Father

Kathy and I watched a very good documentary tonight called Sins of My Father. The film follows Sebastian Marroquin,the grown son of the late Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar as he attempts to pay some of his father's karmic debts. 

As the head of the Medellin drug cartel in the 1980's and '90's, the elder Escobar was extremely wealthy, powerful, and dangerous. When he tried to enter into Colombian politics, he was exposed and denounced by his chosen party, and subsequently ordered the assassinations of the two party leaders. The documentary shows Sebastian reaching out to the sons of these leaders, asking for forgiveness and healing.

Three things stood out for me while watching this film. First and foremost, it exemplifies the Buddha's teaching that "Hatred never ceases by hatred." Sebastian's decision to end the cycle of violence that had been his father's legacy results in peace and understanding between everyone involved.

Another theme of the film is that Pablo Escobar was, at heart, a family man who made his fortune in a way that was extraordinarily unskillful and harmful to countless other people. No villain walks around gloating to the world about how evil they are, and Escobar was no exception. Seeing him in family home movies playing with his children, and hearing the sadness in Sebastian's voice as he remembers these happy family times, one is reminded that we are all just human beings looking for love.

Finally, the documentary reminds us that when we get what we think we want, we are still subject to suffering. Toward the end of the film, Sebastian recounts how his family had to huddle together inside the money vault his father had built in their home which was under siege by Colombian drug police. "We were starving," Sebastian said. "Here we were in a room with millions of dollars, and we didn't have anything to eat." All the money that his father had amassed, paid for with the misery of so many others, was absolutely worthless.


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