Freire’s dialogue.

After reading the short excerpt from Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the only thing I could do was think and fathom of all the different concepts he melded together in accordance with dialogue and take a step back.  I have been familiar with his notion of dialogue in the context of social change, performance, and personal transformation, but his ideals of dialogue and its components were concepts I did not necessarily equate with dialogue or never really thought of them as being part of the same system.  Although, I found his notions of dialogue extremely compelling and powerful, I have some doubts and criticisms of his fundamentals.  Dialogue obviously implies an interwoven relation and communication between peoples and communities, which suggest that aspects of dialogue applies to everyone involved; oppressors and oppressed.  However, I do not believe that everyone has the “luxury” of love, faith, and hope to engage in dialogues with others.  I certainly value those sentiments and emotions and I can see their importance and merit within social movements and discourses for transformation, such as humility and critical thinking.  According to Freire, humanists, oppressed, and the oppressors must all have and function within these elements to achieve reciprocal communication and understanding.  I side with Freire when he stresses the critical nature of personal and world views and the need to understand each others perspective on the world, which will ultimately help people combat oppression.  This is especially true because every situation is different (through culture, history, language) and requires different approaches and dialogues to achieve solid transformation.  But, I believe on a universal level that many people can not afford hope in a future or faith in others.  So many people are entirely invested in their current situation/survival and do not have the means or the option to have hope and faith, leading to the lack of trust and dialogue.  This is outside of Freire’s argument on the pacification of the oppressed and the creation of passive attitudes by the oppressors.  Some people are so deep into certain issues that they cannot afford the luxury of faith and hope to engage with humanists or even oppressors outside of their own survival.  I completely agree with Freire’s criticism of educational programs and relief programs do little to create actual and long-lasting transformation, while being ignorant of the existence of different culture and values.  But certain options can initially help people become more stable and nourished (physically and mentally) in order to better engage in true dialogue.

The Bicycle Thief/Thieves is an Italian neo-realist film that can out after World War II.  It is an old film set in a war-torn Italy, which makes it seem archaic and outdated, but the narrative it portrays of a father’s struggle to keep a job and support his family is ever to real and relevant today.  It does not stray far from other unstable regions of the world such as Libya, Yemen, and Mexico.  Although the film and the genre deals with poverty and has existential elements, it comments on how hope and faith is extremely difficult and near impossible for some people to obtain, hold, and find.  Many actors from the film are actually non-professional actors, which allows real workers and the oppressed to portray their own desolation and social depravity as a reflection of their character’s.


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