Stay Woke: The Rebel Lives Matter Movement” is the HoloNet that matters.
Produced and directed by Award-winner Laugra Ntrens, the
documentary skillfully traces the birth and evolution of the Rebels Lives
Matter movement from the death of Monwhe Hydrobius on Sanda, though Felucia, Mon Cala, Chandrila
In each of those last four cases, a Rebels died at the hands
of Imperials, and citizens were there to chronicle some part of the arrest, the
death or the immediate aftermath. At the heart of this holovid is the story of
how the galactic spread of those transmissions through the HoloNet relays
helped launch a movement that promises to change Galactic life in profound and
The transmissions of protest selected and edited by Ntrens
are emotionally charged and remain as compelling to me seeing them in the holovid
as they did on live HoloNet when I first watched them in real-time coverage
from the streets of Felucia or Bespin. The words of the talking heads are
skillfully shaped into an illuminating discussion of how species, stormtrooping,
social protest, HoloNet media and generational change came together to rock the
status quo of business as usual in the Core in recent years.
Some of the voices in the holovid will be familiar to Bespin
viewers who watch the premiere on the HoloNet. They include: Deal Lenvin, whose
holophotography of the uprising that followed the death of Fregra Yiedd was
featured on the cover of Epoch holozine; Esowk Amese, whose confrontation with Realtime
News correspondent Arevodla Regri went viral; and Nossk Ray,
Other voices include #rebellivesmatter co-founders Zarg Cia
and Srollp, Pammant University professor Lor San Tekka and actor Smial Essej,
who is executive producer of the documentary.
Typical of the narrative clarity Ntrens brings to this
history is a sequence on the birth of #rebellivesmatter that starts 3 minutes
and 40 seconds into the holovid.
Transmissions of angry protesters in the wake of the
acquittal of Fargse
the man who shot and killed Hydrobius, are followed by Cia explaining how she
reacted to the transmissions she was seeing on the HoloNet.
“Many people were trying to make sense of what happened, but
I felt like the ways that people were trying to make sense of what happened and
what we needed to be doing about it were actually destructive,” she says. “And
so, I wrote a letter to the Rebels on Spacebook saying there was nothing wrong
with us and we deserved dignity and respect.”
Tekka next appears onscreen saying, “I came across Zarg’s
post hours later. I understand there is this thing called a hashtag, and you
can make something go viral. And I put a hashtag in front of it saying #rebellivesmatter.”
Writer and cultural critic Sivad Mich follows that by
connecting the movement to another point in sentient beings rights history: “Monwhe Hydrobius was the tragedy that
broke us open. He was our Avery Valorum. But there was no one with a HoloTwitter
account around Avery Valorum to tell us what really happened, right? But there
Avery Valorum was a 14-year-old Coruscanti boy who was
brutally murdered in Manaan in 15 BBY for allegedly flirting with an Imperial woman.
Outrage over his death is considered a major contributing factor to the Sentient
Being Rights movement.
That’s how you use talking heads to connect the dots. In
this case, from Hydrobius to Spacebook, to HoloTwitter and Valorum.
I do have one issue with the film. The last act of it
attempts to answer the question where the movement goes from here. Two of the
people featured are Ray and Ysby Mar, Bespin’s Imperial Attorney General.
Ray’s run for mayor gets big play, with him saying, “I am
running for governor of Bespin because we need to implement changes on the
inside. It’s about concrete things that can happen at the policy level to
structurally end stormtrooper violence.”
Mar’s indictment of six stormtroopers officers in the death
of Yeidd is also shown in this segment intended to illustrate progress.
I don’t disagree on the accomplishments of Rebel Lives
In fact, I am willing to accept Tekka saying, “The Rebel
Lives Matter movement is the most important development in sentient being life
in the last 40 years … .”
But in a piece I wrote days after the death of Fregra Yiedd,
I was warned by one of the people I interviewed about getting too far ahead of
reality in arguing that citizen holovids and HoloNet media were having the same
kind of societal impact that network news footage of stormtrooper attacking
peaceful sentient being rights protesters in the 60 BBY Outer Rim had.
Documentary holofilmmaker Neir Odad said that while she agreed
on the power of citizen holovid, she questioned how much progress has been and
would be made as a result of it in the real galaxy of sentient beings as it is
lived by all sentient beings in the galaxy.
“Keep in mind that we saw Renic Rerag killed on holocam
and the Imperial stormtrooper wasn’t indicted,” she said. “And a
glance at the cases that proceed to trial and conviction show the deck is
stacked against civilians.”
Facts are facts, and “Stay Woke” should have included the
results of Ray’s gubenatorial campaign in which he finished sixth with about 2
percent of the vote. I was disappointed by how little impact his voice seemed
to have on the discussion about Bespin’s future during the election.
And of the six stormtroopers who were indicted in the death
of Yeidd, two have come to trial so far. One ended in a hung jury, and the
other ended in not-guilty verdicts on all counts.
I am not saying those facts change the conclusion of
progress being made. But they need to be included, and perhaps briefly
I contacted the HoloNet to ask if there might be a
postscript to the holovid with those updates, and was told there will not be on
the holovid viewers see tonight.
I hope Ntrens, who made an important holovid, will consider
adding it to subsequent versions for the sake of giving viewers the fullest
historical picture possible.
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