Movie, Journey of Hope

You see a place that looks like paradise from a postcard and from that you imagine a life better than what you have.  This scenario is what happened for Haydar Sener in the movie Journey of Hope.  Haydar was living in Turkey and desired to have a better life, to live in Switzerland in paradise.  This movie follows him and several others as they make the trek to cross the border into Switzerland trying not to get caught.  This film took the viewer on this trek and made you feel like you were right there with them facing everything that they had to face.  What was particularly moving was the hope that Haydar had for his family and how he wanted to provide them with this better life even if it meant selling everything he had to start completely over.  Even when things seem unreliable and sketchy Haydar kept his hope and courage and persevered through many trails.   One instance of this was towards the end of the movie when it was just him and his son trekking through the snow.  Haydar and his son faced freezing temperatures, cold wind, and not enough warmth but through all of that, on top of being lost, Haydar carried his son and kept fighting to find help and warmth for them both even though it ended in despair.


In Munich, Geert Mak takes the reader back to 1938.  It was in this year that the Munich Conference was held in which four countries, Germany, England, France, and Italy signed an agreement that Germany was allowed to advance and take the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia provided that Adolf Hitler representing Germany at this time does not advance into any other areas or countries.  Hitler and Germany were allowed this because Hitler argued that the Germans in this region were being oppressed by the Czechoslovakian government. It was a nerve wrecking ordeal in that Europe did not want another world war to break out among them and why in the agreement they stated that “ ‘ the wish never to wage war against each other again’, ‘this method of consultation will be the manner in which we deal with problems from this day on’” (Mak 335). Although Neville Chamberlain and other European leaders were hopeful that peace was among them it did not last for very long.


Mak begins the chapter with the realization that the Great War has not yet faded away in Verdun. Yet, he makes the prediction that “within the next ten years,” with “the third and fourth generation” the memory and emotion of the war will slowly begin to slip away (Mak 106). He describes the distance in which 260,000 people were killed in the late summer of 1916 as occurring “between two exits” (Mak 107). I t was in this place that German chief of staff Erich von Falkenhayn wanted the French to literally “bleed to death” in the place of which they held “a special symbolic significance” (Mak 111).  Verdun became the place of which the Germans called ‘Gericht’ meaning it was the place of execution for the French. This distance is now remembered through signs trailing the motorway. It is here Mak states that the war has officially entered its next phase: tourist attraction (Mak 108). Within this place one can smell the gas, where “chlorine gas actually does smell a bit like bleach, mustard gas a little like mustard” and relive the lives of the soldiers and know how they died (Mak 107). Yet, by the battle site becoming a tourist attraction its grandness and importance is somewhat lost. The extent of people, horses, and supplies that inhabited this area once resembled an “big anthill” (Mak 108). And even though Verdun was home to “the most horrible war memorial,” the town proved peaceful (Mak 111). Verdun is the gateway to France, which is why it was so important for the German’s to break through the front lines. Through the bloodiness and destruction of the war, the land was barren for decades. Yet after years of healing is now littered with trees once again. (amd379, bro24)