Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blood Diamond

I watched this movie last night. And then proceeded to stay up until two in the morning sick to my stomach trying to figure out a way to save the world. The hallmark of a succesful movie.

I've never been a big Leo fan. I'm probably the only person in the world who didn't like Titantic. I don't like my emotional responses to be so blatantly induced or choreographed. Some movies...and books for that matter are just meant to entertain. Let you escape from reality. Make you laugh, relieve stress. But, some movies (and books) are meant to raise your awareness, and these are my favorite kind.

I don't usually watch the news or peruse CNN on the web. If there's something I absolutely need to know, someone around me will inform me. Some people get desensitized by the bombardment of suffering and injustice in the world. I'm not one of those people. I get devestated.

Refugee camps have always been one of those things for me that seem to exist far from reality. I've seen pictures, I've heard stories. I was touched by the story of Sudan's "lost boys" in my National Geographic, but this movie did a really good job of taking the distance away. The horror of Africa's long history of civil war is somehow put right in your lap. At least it was for me. What human beings are doing to other human beings over there is beyond comprehension. I am trying to understand it, anyway.

So, what can harden a person's heart to the point where they can chop off a child's arm without thinking twice? How about slaughter their brothers and sisters, rip the terrified children from the dead parents bodies, stick a gun in their tiny hands and force them to kill? Drive into refugee camps and gun down thousands of women and children at a time?

My first reaction was-- these people are inhuman and evil. But, I have to say, when I got past the outrage, grief and shock and put my belief that all people are inherently good to the conclusion was that these people are all just victims. Yes, even the rebels chopping off kid's arms. They are victims of an environment that fosters hopelessness and devalues life. How do you give an entire country hope for a future? How do you instill in them the belief that all life is a gift...even their own? I don't have any answers and I know there will be no easy solution. But, surely there is something we can do besides send money, right?

One of the characters said that he wondered if God would ever forgive them for what they are doing to each other. And then he said he realized God had left Africa a long time ago.

This started a debate in my house about whether people need religion to have a moral code. Do they need to believe that there's a God waiting to punish them in order to keep from murdering their neighbor?

My thought is no, they just need to have respect for their own life, feel that they have a right to live out their life in peace and--by extension--feel the same about others.

Would "putting the fear of God" through religion in Africa stop the slaughter?

Probably not. People can justify anything.

Lots to think about anyway.

Very sad.

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