Sunday, December 31, 2006

A girl's best friend

There's nothing like having your conscience pricked in the middle of the night at the end of the year when resolutions are about to be made.

We saw Blood Diamond last night and it was set in the time when Sierra Leone was in the midst of civil war as groups tried to wrest for the country's diamond resources. It was about how our love for sparkly little carbon bits cause thousands of human rights violations in Africa that range from the chopping off of limbs, the enslaving of entire villages, the training of child soldiers and the raping, pillaging and power hungry bullying that comes with the territory. And to top it all off, the diamond czars and industry of the world that ignored the fact that buying these cheaper diamonds funded the aforementioned crimes against humanity.

As a rule, I don't like seeing heavy handed movies that make me more aware of the horrid plight of the world. I know these issues are out there- often I teach them in class. But they depress me and I like going to the movies to forget reality, not get a slap on the face by reality and be all serious and contemplative after that. In other words, I don't like it when movies shake me out of my ditzy inertia driven state. There's too much discomfort and disturbance and it's yet another thing that I am forced to think about, care about and feel guilty about.

I asked Packrat after the somewhat public serviced reminder at the end of the movie about insisting on "conflict free" diamonds, if my diamonds were conflict free and he too, had the same sheepish look of guilt on his face that I felt. No we don't ask, in fact, it never crosses our mind making us perpertrators of the crime against humanity as well, by buying and owning beautiful bling. Before Packrat and I got engaged, he used to push my buttons by telling me that no matter how beautiful De Beers diamonds were, they were tainted by the blood of the one-armed African slave who had to mine diamonds under the threat of death and at gun point. He knew that it would prick my conscience and possibly let him off the hook, bling wise.

And it did. It's just, I, together with most of the educated world, am like a groundhog. We spend most of the time underground, not thinking about the issues, pretending they don't exist. Occasionally, we stick our head out, blink at the bright revelation in front of us and then retreat into the hole, with the knowledge that we have at least made that effort, to see something be it our own shadow or the truth. So we acknowledge that it's important to know where our consumer goods come from, but really, what do we do with it?

I know I'm not going to throw away my diamonds just because they may be conflict diamonds just like how I know I'm not going to buy a Hybrid car even though I'm wrecking the environment and contributing to global warming. I also know that I'm never going to protest loud enough to not ever have shark's fin ordered at a dinner or stop buying clothes because they're made by nearly blind little children with bleedy fingers. We know what we're doing wrong, but it takes too much effort to correct it, to do something right and so, we choose to shove it into the deep recesses of our mind. The rational, cold, logical side of me reminded me during the movie that if I chose to care about every single thing that happened in the world, I would kill myself, physically by starving myself and psychologically by the amount of self-flagellation that would occur and at the end of the day, it was and is always about self- preservation.

At some point, the groundhog will go back into the hole but until then, this will certainly bug me and I'm thankful that my job allows me the soapbox to spread the guilt round a little bit in the name of raising awareness.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:03

1 thoughts...

1 thoughts...

At 8:54 am Blogger baby`soT said...

Happy New Year!!


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