A complimentary review of Facing Ali by Omer M. Mozaffar on Roger Ebert’s Chicago Sun-Times page, which he calls Our far-flung correspondents.

This is a unique documentary…

What I did expect from the film was a huge amount of respect for Ali by these (formerly) gifted athletes. What I did expect, but did not receive, was anger against Ali. What I did not expect was that almost all these fighters – having faced harder punches outside the ring – seem to have made peace with themselves and with their circumstances. What I did not expect was the huge amount of love directed to Ali. The repeated sentiment, even from a teary-eyed, sympathetic Joe Frazier, was modest gratitude. These men were grateful for his role in their lives, as fighters, as African American men in the Civil Rights era. They were grateful for the sense of value and courtesy he gave them. This movie would be the best, most endearing eulogy a person could ask for…

…we get the sense that the men who faced him were themselves real people, speaking of a dear friend, that they hold not in high esteem, not in reverence, but in a loving awe.

And then a further conversation about Islam and so-called Islamophobia that is open, indeed, to conversation and god knows what else—as it will be for years to come. I’m not a religious person, and a friend of mine who isn’t, either, said to me recently, “In some ways I envy religious certainty.” Upon further discussion, she didn’t really mean it. I, like her, am actually repelled by the idea of such certainty. Imagine—and this includes science, too—being certain in this world, which has to be, still, all observations and facts included, something like 99.9999% mystery. Heck, we don’t even know what dark energy or matter is, let alone how it works, etc., and yet listening to physicist Lawrence Krauss, I think he said this ‘substance’ is the majority of the weight in every proton, and thus the majority of the weight of ourselves. It is also virtually ’empty’, so-called. We are here but for a moment, ever-changing. I’ve got to figure out how to love more, and let the rest of the crap flow right on through that empty space.


One Response to “FACING ALI”

  1. Karen says:

    Oh, I dearly love that last line.

    It really is all about the love and letting it insulate you from the rest of the stupidity.

    Do the right thing, with love, and the rest sorts itself out.

    Love to you and those you love,

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