08 February 2007
Shine on ’em
I watched Blood Diamond last night, and it reminded me a lot of Hotel Rwanda and an older post I made on the the disturbing reality of the Chinese fur trade (warning, disturbing imagery).
Aside from enjoying the film, though some of the literary devices were easily contrived, it brought me back to wondering about how people can relate further outside of their 3° of separation. I read somewhere that most people (Westerners) can't often put anything outside of 2° or 3° of separation into context, so it rarely affects their life choices. This is unless it reflects a lifestyle choice, which in turn is a reflection of them expressing themselves through actions. For example, you buy dolphin-safe tuna because it makes you better, not because you know much about the symbol on the tuna label, or the processes taken, whether or not it's really dolphin-safe or how they define that, et cetera. It just reflects the notion that you would think it bad to hurt dolphins (though they're the only animals aside from humans that rape for pleasure).
One of the most powerful lines I've ever heard was in Hotel Rwanda: Colonel Oliver, explaining why the world will not intervene in the Tutsis genocide, "You're black. You're not even a nigger. You're an African."
And it was true. Even while watching Blood Diamond, I couldn't help but feel a little exasperated at the African condition. (Not just through film, but through other media, too. And stories of friends that have been located in Africa. The best I can get without having travelled there myself.)
Why does the West donate so charitably to the tsunami relief fund a couple years ago, but neglect Africa? And if it's natural for us to embrace our 3°-wide environ, where is the broken link in our social fence that's preventing us from taking care of one another. Or does it start with many of us, are we broken links? Do we only make decisions based on how they make us feel? I guess this is the difference between knowledge and experience.
Our past resident asshole-in-office, Ralph Klien, made that abundantly clear when he, drunk, threw loose change at homeless people in a shelter back in 2001. Of course, I don't know if the homeless people threw loose change at Klein first, prompting the ordeal, but it's an example how one can view their case as so separate from the conditions that surround us.
I don't know where I am going with any of this. It's thoughts on why we lack the capacity to embrace a holistic civilisation.
Posted by Don at 10:03