Guilt

The two main: Pessimism and Optimism. They look the same, a thin white man. Only, Optimism sits up straight and wears bright clothes. Pessimism slouches and looks scruffy.

Silence. There’s no music or sound. We’re in a square white room. There are two stainless steel chairs in the room, directly opposite the other, about three metres apart. We circles them, moving around the edge. After several circuits, Optimism appears in one of the chairs. Then Pessimism appears in the other.

An image flickers onto the wall next to Pessimism’s head. The image shows my face. The image breaks up and fades away. The image flickers on again, but continues this time, with sound. The face moves away. Behind it there are flames and white South African Policemen shooting black men to the ground during apartheid. A man dressed in long white sheets walks to the front of the image and blocks what was behind him. When he moves away again, there is a cross burning behind him, and the previous image is gone. The face of a black child comes into focus. We focus in on his tears, and his crying fills the room. The camera moves around him and shows a gang of men shouting abuse at an Asian women in a block of flats. My face comes back into view as the image breaks up again.

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is white.”

Optimism: “I believe that every person is an individual. Why should he feel guilty? He is not responsible.”

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is white.”

Another moving image flickers onto the wall next to Pessimism’s head. The image shows a my face again, but it moves away also. Behind, there is a long line of women, from all over the world, joining hands. A truck drives in front of them, carrying a load. The load is a stone statue of the male symbol. Diesel fumes cloud the image and the roar of the engine fills the room. When the truck moves away, the line of women is broken, and they are moving away. My face comes back into view as the image breaks up again.

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is male.”

Optimism: “I believe that every person is an individual. Why should he feel guilty? He is not an oppressor.”

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is male.”

An image flickers onto the wall next to Optimism’s head. The image shows a homeless man in the street. A business man steps over the man’s legs in a hurry to get home. The polystyrene mug that the homeless person was collecting money in falls over and the money tips out. The coins fall in slow motion as the coins bounce on the ground and then disappear down a drain cover. The image pans up into the dark, miserable sky and the image breaks up again.

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he has been brought up in the middle classes.”

Optimism: “I believe that every person is an individual. Why should he feel guilty? It is the only life he knows.”

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is middle class.”

An final image flickers onto the wall next to Optimism’s head. The image shows a solitary Union Jack flying against a sunset sky. Black and White photographs of the days of the British Empire flash up on the wall. Images of the Irish famine flicker onto the wall. A copy of The Sun falls down from above, followed by a plastic Union Jack. There is a final film clip of Michael Howard holding his white paper on asylum seekers. The image breaks up again.

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is English.”

Optimism: “I believe that every person is an individual. Why should he feel guilty? It is his nationality. He does not have to be proud. He should not feel guilty.”

Pessimism: “He feels guilty because he is English. He is guilty.”

Optimism: “He cannot help being these things, he is also an individual.”

Pessimism: “Guilt will equal recognition. Guilt will make him remember. Guilt will stop him being like them. He must carry this burden. He must feel guilty.”

Optimism stands up and walks over to Pessimism. He stares into the eyes of Pessimism.

Optimism: “I don’t think so. Only the guilty should feel guilty.”

We cut to the a bar scene. There is bouncy reggae music in the background. A black, dreadlocked, man, with a very broad Jamaican accent looks into the camera. He smiles and hold out a can of drink. It is labelled ‘GUILT’.

Guilt Man: “Guilt. It’s a totally unnecessary waste.”

An Asian woman walks in front of the Guilt Man, and taps on the glass.

Woman: “We don’t want your remorse. We want action.”

She taps on the glass again. Cut to black.

Six Confessions of a Tortured Soul

  1. Nightmares
  2. Rejection
  3. Guilt
  4. Mistrust
  5. Loneliness
  6. Regret

Part three, 28 December 1995.

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