|Subject: Raphael Coleman, British actor of "Nanny McPhee"
Dies at 25
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Date Posted: Sunday, February 09, 10:38:57am
To die young
I guess there's nothing that makes you see death as unfair and meaningless as when a young person dies. It's life itself that's sabotaged. It just happened to my wife, Liz, whose youngest son, Raph of only 25, died last Friday. He collapsed without prior health problems in the middle of a trip and could not be restored. I got to know raph when he was six years old, and we were so close.
It's beautiful to promise the dead that we will never forget them. But it is so much more manageable than just a matter of remembering and remembering when it is your own child who has been taken away. It is an amputation that has taken place, one's own, better, more hopeful half, all the deepest and deepest invested in life that has been torn away, and the phantom pain of sorrow will be there forever.
I will never forget you, we say in a farewell greeting to the dead. But when it's your own child, it's your genes, your whole body, something greater than the word I who forever refuse to accept the judgment of death. Raph wasn't my child, even though I was close to him. But I can feel it myself. I see it in his mother's eyes, and I hear it in her voice, the irreversible loss of the most precious thing in life.
Dear friends, readers and followers. I've never wanted to use this facebook page for private purposes. This is where I try to inform myself in a chaotic world, analyse and explain my positions. But when I choose to tell you about the death of my father, it's not just because the loss of him will bring me forever. This is also because I see in him the hope that a new youth in the middle of the climate crisis has lit up in us.
Who was raph? As a child, he was old-wise, extremely literate and loved to lecture adults with his always astonishing knowledge. He was a child actor in the popular British Comedy Nanny Mcphee, where he played himself with great talent, a little redhead boy who was always mixing explosive chemical ingredients. He had several roles, was rewarded and could have chosen a career as an actor. But he wanted to be a scientist, not to blow up something, as his figure in Nanny Mcphee, but to save the planet.
At the age of 18, he traveled around the world all alone. He became a biologist, suited to a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, spent a year in Costa Rica's jungle and six months in Indonesia, where he qualified for a certificate as a diver. When he was not in distant, unavailable places, he was grown up to the cutthroat, the big-town sport, where you were beating staggering balances over the take and grounds of cement.
But first and last, it was the exhibition rebellion that came to the life of the British climate activist group that brought London's traffic to stop and within a few months of explosive hurry spread to 60 countries. Raph was one of the first and most active members. Under the name Iggy Fox, he controlled the group's use of social media, spoke at demonstrations, and was arrested again and again. By April, he should have been in court accused of painting the Brazilian Embassy with red when the amazon jungle was standing in flames. He didn't want a lawyer, but he wrote himself on his defense court when he died.
There's a video of the arrest. Two giant cops are taking raph away with serious faces. Raph's smiling. There is an inequality over his smile, no cheap triumph, just a knowledge that he is doing the right thing. It's this smile that's the gift for us. There is an expectation in the faces of young people, a sun in their eyes, a vital idealism that we must not betray. That's all this raph was.
Death turned off raph, but it did not turn off the light that burned in him, because no one who has known him has been unaffected by it or will forget it, and that is how he lives on.
Most often, it is the time of time, life with all its compromises, its demands for adaptation, the spiritual erosion that we are subjected to, which turns out the light in us. We are allowed to live so long, and yet we end up in sad resignation when it does not become aggression, an anger that we do not dare to ourselves over the wasted opportunities and which we therefore aim at others.
When I think of Raph, I see something that will never die, a blunt of eternity, a light beam that lives forever in young people. We believe that it is us, the older generations who have something to give the young people. We believe that we are the ones who pass the baton of life to them. But I think it's the other way around. The young people remind us why we're alive. They remind us of the purpose of life that this is the gift we must not in distraction until we have unpacked it.
The young people remind us of our own abilities and talents that we have neglected. We are always far bigger and richer than the world wants us to believe. What does it mean to believe in yourself? Is this just how career sermons, an increasingly narrow-minded, disciplinary education system and an ever-increasing labour market want us to believe? Only shameless selfish self revenge and the size of our own elbows count? Would it be the only horizon of the young people if they want to make it?
No, the young people today have something else in them. They have the faith that they have something to give to others, and it is the most beautiful thing in people. They enter our world, not as its conqueror, not in triumph, but in humble respect for the laws of nature, with gentle hands, driven by care. That's the new one. That's the educational thing. That's where they become ours, the masters of the older generations, not the other way around.
This is what I see in the smile on rap's face as he is being taken away from the Brazilian Embassy between two cops. His short life reminds us of the duty to live.
The Polish poet wyslawa szimborska has written the smartest poem about death. Death is always late, she says. Because we always get to give by ourselves, no matter how early we get taken away. Raph got so few years, but he lived as if he was all the way down the bottom of his cells knew how barely time was and he got to give us so much.
I put out a link in memory of him. Not one of his speeches in London's seats, but a dance video he himself recorded at the edge of Bangkok in a closed mall that the jungle is taking back.
The video is a tribute to the joy of joy, the mere pleasure presence, and it shows how raph in everything he did, committed himself to the utmost to provide his best and generously giving of his own kingdom.
Thank you, Raph.
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