The opening of the movie “Blood Diamonds” slammed me against the back of my sofa and that was just the begining. I started it last night and I have yet to finish it. “Intense” is one of the words I would use to describe it. It joins a growing list of movies based of on Africa, that I find myself unwillingly collecting to watch again at a later date. I am unable to watch these “African movies” without PREJUDICE. My heart and emotions get involved thus rendering them PERSONALLY INTENSE. The list is made up of
- Tears of the Sun
- Constant Gardener
- Black Hawk Down
- Hotel Rwanda etc
With all these, I started, stopped and eventually finished off the next day or a few days later.
“Blood Diamonds” really hit home because, here was Djimon Housson and cast presenting to me the reality of what thousands of Northern Ugandans have lived with for almost 20 years. Child abduction by the rebels. Mindless decapitations and bodily disfigurement. The presence of atrocious evil, so close to my door, literally hundreds of kilometers away and yet I have been able to ignore it and FEEL NOTHING because it was not in my backyard, so to speak.
I then remembered 2 particular conversations where it was intimated that the general feeling by the rest of Uganda towards the victims of Kony and his evil mongers was “they did this to us for years now let them suffer and in any case they are doing it to themselves”.
Again I remembered a conversation with a Sudanese accquaintance. We bumped into each other on the train. Darfur had just caught the media’s attention and it was all over the place. Thinking that I would show my empathy about the situation, I was left speechless when I got the following response. The accquitance in question is from Southern Sudan
” When we were in trouble with the Arabs they refused to help us because they are brothers (shared religion:Islam) and we are Christians so they just watched us suffer. Now let them suffer at the hands of thier brothers……but yes, it is bad for them”
Suffice to say the topic of conversation changed immediately.
Last night, I went to bed with my thoughts completely jumbled and tumbled. Didn’t know what to think or feel and the only constant thought was “Your circle of influence, let the rest go”. A part of me is so distressed at the ever present evil that is just a stone’s throw away. I wanted to rage against us Africans for the things we do to each other. Then I reminded myself that evil is all around and not restricted only to “us”. I remembered that some Iraqis like blowing themselves and others up. Some Afghanis like to subjugate their women to death, some Danes like to molest thier children. Some Americans like serial killing, some Indians like selling children …. the list is endless. Its a case of evil and so long as there are people, so there is evil and good.
I am not one to delude myself that something can be done about this evil. History and today speaks for themselves. My prayer is that this evil will not touch me ,my loved ones and you as we walk through this life.
I guess “Blood Diamonds” reminded me to be more empathetic rather than apathetic. It reminded me that I should do my part when opportunity presents itself. Take part in that walk against Kony etc. Donate something to that NGO helping the orphans of war, do something in your circle of influence no matter how small because as I learned while interning at UNHCR, “most Africans are one war away from being refugees”. Ain’t that the truth!!!!