Saturday, June 09, 2007

Movie Viewing & Conflict

Things stay on low to medium simmer in these parts on what seems to be a constant basis. For months now the local press has been predicting an impending summertime conflict starring Israel and co-starring Syria.

Ach, ignore it I say. Ignore something long enough and maybe it'll disappear. But it won't. But I try anyway.

Trying involves opting for late night escapism via movie or television series viewing. The Sopranos or Grey's Anatomy or last night, a jump into non-escapism i.e. watching the movie Blood Diamond.

For those who haven't seen it, it's a depiction of Sierra Leone's 1990's conflict: government forces versus rebels to the tune of the diamond industry fanning the flames on both sides.

Good timing on my part what with accused Liberian war criminal extraordinaire Charles Taylor (am I the only one who thinks "Chuck" and high tops when I hear his name?) boycotting his own trial this week.

Back to Blood Diamond. Whew. It went flat in some places and there were slight Hollywood bits that make you go "Aw c'mon..".

But as Leonardo DiCaprio's character spouted isms like "Howzit China?" or "Yah, Brew" I was reminded of colleagues hailing from Zimbabwe, Lesotho, South Africa & Kenya. They all hold key positions within their news organizations and have all seen or covered conflict on home turf or in a neighboring country.

In the 90's, one Reuters friend used to boastfully point out that the company's top producers, bureau chiefs and cameramen covering the hottest stories worldwide were all from Africa. He was one of them.

I also connected the dots implicating De Beers and the dirty diamond trade before running a reference check. Gee... I think that was the point.

The movie's worth a look-see even if it's not exactly escapist material.

Now I need to work on getting moi-self to Africa. And not on a UN mission or Safari, thanks much.

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