…entre nous soit dit…

between me you and the gatepost.

The Priviliged Life

Does anyone wonder just how damn small and sheltered each of us really are? This is speaking to all the privileged people in the world I suppose, considering anyone who is poor enough to really experience life and appreciate it probably don’t have enough money or means to have the internet. so if you’re looking at the internet and better yet, you’re reading this, then let me open you’re eyes now: you’re privileged. There might be others out there who are more privileged than yourself, but you are none the less privileged.

Blood Diamond Poster
Today I watched Blood Diamond (you know the one nominated for 5 academy awards and has Leonardo DiCaprio in it). Now normally I’m not one to get all thrilled about Leonardo DiCaprio and I would be one of the last to say that he is a brilliant actor and I was inspired by him (although i have to admit to having watched Titanic a million times even though it’s commonly bagged as the worst movie ever and a guy’s worst nightmare as a date), but Blood Diamond actually had me really interested and watching intently.

Other people I have talked to have said that DiCaprio was good, but the movie was too slow, but I really didn’t think so. For anyone who hasn’t watched Blood Diamond, it’s a story about the trade of “dirty diamonds” from war torn countries or “conflict diamonds” and about the civil wars in places like Sierra Leone (which is where the movie is based in 1999). In 2003 the “Kimberley Process” was signed by forty nations in an attempt to stem the flow of conflict diamonds but they’re still being traded throughout the world. Solomon Vandy (payed by Djimon Hounsou – who should have got the academy award for Best Supporting Actor in this film) portrays what it’s like to be a family caught in a war torn country in Africa . He is taken by the rebels and forced to work at one of their diamond mining camps. It’s here that he discovers a large pink diamond that the rest of the movie centres around and is the reason that his and DiCaprios character’s lives collide.

If you haven’t seen this movie, I suggest you do because it’s really eye opening and it actually makes you think about it. Personally I thought about a great many things. At the moment I’m in a phase in between knowing my goal for a career in life. My ambitions have changed and this movie has helped to cement my newly formed ideas of becoming a free lance journalist. Jennifer Connelly, who plays the reporter in the movie, gives a convincing performance and her character was nothing short of an inspiration to fuel my new ideas, although memories keep plaguing my mind such as people like Jill Carroll who was kidnapped inIraq and her Iraqi interpreter was killed. Something in my head keeps suggesting that might not be the best way to go (then again what is), and believe me it comes very close in a couple of instances for that being the same ending for Jennifer Connelly’s character.

But none the less, the idea of being a free lance journalist somewhere like Sierra Leone or Iraq or somewhere else with real pieces and stories to tell, not just boring columns on the atrocities of the upper class suburban family who loses “everything” when their holiday house is burnt to the ground in bush fires. I mean honestly, this movie really makes you think about how sheltered life is and how much is taken for granted. Living in a suburban area, I walked outside my house after watching this to a completely quiet street lined with perfectly tended rich house (most of them being two storeys or bigger and each with a pool) and Christmas lights lying all over the house across the road – there weren’t any guns or bombs going off, no child soldiers walking around yelling and killing everyone in sight like they’re ordered, or even a refuge camp with a million people each of who are suspected as rebels and living in a hut barely made of rags, paper and sticks.

The people shown in this movie – they lose everything. Solomon Vandy is taken away from his family and saved at the last moment from having his hands cut off by the rebels, only to be put into hard labour that’s life threatening on a daily basis and then only manages to scrape through each of the attacks after that. He has to do everything he can to find his family again. He finds his wife, daughter and baby, but by then his son has been made a child soldier – so he searches every rebel camp he passes looking for him and when he does find him, his son is so changed that he yells at Solomon and shouts that he is a traitor, which results in Solomon’s capture and re-enslavement. Even when his son’s looking at him down the barrel of a gun, he doesn’t give up

There are other families out there with similar or worse stories. Occasionally you here one or another one is made into a movie (like that of the Rabbit Proof Fence or Hotel Rwanda – both which are brilliant movies), but it’s the other ones that you don’t here about – the ones that go unnoticed – that are still there and still affecting the people. Stories like that of a boy I used to know whose brother (who was a mere 10 years old at the time) saw his own father shot in the streets of Burma after getting caught in the middle of gang warfare. Or of a Sudanese student who was at school while their house was raided, their family and servant killed and house set on fire. Those stories are just everyday ones that no one ever hears about. Those people know what it’s like to appreciate life, living in places like Australia, America or England.

All of these places are so safe and nice compared to where they’ve come from, and yet the people who are lucky enough to have grown up and lived in these safe place all there lives are too sheltered and spoilt to realise just how lucky and privileged they are their whole lives. It’s taken completely for granted. They don’t realise that the latest style of headbands or belts aren’t what really matters and they probably won’t ever realise that the survival instincts that lay dormant in themselves play an everyday important part of someone else’s life – their life depends on them. The closest these sheltered people come to the war torn countries is while they’re sitting on their $2000 Italian leather couch watching television on their $10000 home entertainment system and a thirty second ad comes on from World Vision with a little kid with a pot belly, grubby face and brown water. The most the person will say to that if we’re lucky is, “Aw! Look at that poor kid. I really should sponsor one.” Then thirty seconds later when the ads over they’ll be back to thinking about the Simpsons on tomorrow night or the equally meaningless program like the Bold and The Beautiful.

But at the end of the day and after all my thinking, it becomes ironic really doesn’t it? Because tomorrow morning I’ll wake up in our suburban home, decide what to eat out of the multitudes of food that would feed a family in Africa for a couple of months, spend thirty minutes in front of the mirror deciding what to wear to work, where I earn more money in one day than they do in a year and then I’ll continue about worrying about if I should buy a lap top of my own despite having the family computer and 2 other laptops in the house before we go away on our trip across half the world. Yes, Ipods, playstations, gameboys, huge flat screen televisions and the newest style of BMW’s are all very nice and good. But none of these now common household items will help anyone to appreciate life more – they won’t even allow people to realise how spoilt or lucky they are to be living such a privileged life.

After all, each one of us is just one tiny speck in the world – just like a singular grain of sand on a whole beach. You don’t even notice how lucky you are to be the grain on the top layer… Just to keep it in perspective.

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May 12, 2008 - Posted by | ambitions, Film Review, life, society

2 Comments »

  1. […] that would change lives and break a story which would bring the truth to millions. Of course I was originally inspired by Jennifer Conolly’s role in Blood Diamond, but that’s a story where the journalist goes into a high risk area, survives and manages to […]

    Pingback by Balibo « …entre nous soit dit… | August 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] be a journalist/correspondent in war/high risk zones (for anyone who hasn’t read it, one of my very first blogs was about the movie and about how it made me want to be a journalist). I told that to Dad  because I was making him watch it, and he turned to me and said very simply, […]

    Pingback by Street Art No. 4 « …entre nous soit dit… | September 9, 2009 | Reply


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