Friday, February 9, 2007

Blood Diamond - watch what you buy

Watched another great movie that highlights the how greed and ignorance cause untold suffering to so many people. Blood Diamond, a movie by Edward Zwick, shows us how the people in Africa (eg. minerals-rich nations like Sierra Leone) are enslaved, tortured, maimed and killed in order to harvest diamonds primarily to cater to the demand of the "developed" countries. It's a vicious cycle: the government want to harvest diamonds to stay in power, while those against the government harvest diamonds to overthrow them. Both need money, both need arms: diamond=money=arms=power. Ignorance perpetuate greed perpetuate hate and this never ends. It sank so low that sometimes people even forgot why or what they are fighting for? For the common citizens, killing is simply a way of life there: T.I.A (this is Africa - shit happens).

Being forced to work in diamond mines under inhuman conditions.

But there are people who refused to believe that there's nothing we can do about it. Characters in the movie like Maddy Bowen, who believed that every single step she takes, no matter how small, how insignificant, can somehow makes a different. Who refused to live in denial or cynicism or look the other way. There are people like that in the real world. And these people gives us hope for a more caring world, and alerts us that they are many out there who are suffering greatly. Same for the people who work tirelessly to bring relief effort to conflict zones and war refugees or victims like the workers and volunteers of UNHCR, ICRC, Doctors Without Borders and many more.

In a way, I'm glad that there are more and more movies coming out highlighting the plights and sufferings of those living in Africa: Sometimes in April, Tears of the Sun and Lord of War are recent films that do more than just entertain. As said by Barbara Vancheri of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "The movie does not suggest consumers boycott diamonds, just that they be vigilant in asking about their origin."

In order to reduce mental defilements, I've tried to be selective about the kind of movies I watch nowadays. Though some of these movies are classified as "R" or "PG", and often depict violence, I think overall they still manage to send a good message: ignorance, greed and hatred cause much sufferings to many. We need to be wary of how materialism and consumerism is driving our lives and how it affects those around us and everyone all over the world. Hope we all become more mindful of what we buy in the future, and why we need to buy them. Always ask about the origins of the diamonds you want to buy to avoid buying conflict diamonds.