[Marxism] blood diamonds

DCQ deeseekyou at comcast.net
Sun Dec 10 00:24:58 MST 2006

On Dec 9, 2006, at 10:23 PM, gregory meyerson wrote:

> does anyone know of any marxist analyses of blood diamonds, etc?

Just read the readily available liberal ones and toss out the 
simplistic solutions.

> I just saw the movie blood diamond, which I hated about as much as 
> mike yates hated the departed.

My wife and I just saw the movie as well. I thought it was pretty 
powerful actually. The movie is artistically marred by Zwick's 
mainstream liberal values, and you're right about the love-interest 
subplot being out-of-place. But, then again, he wouldn't have made the 
movie without those same politics. I have no idea what you are talking 
about with respect to "the corporations" looking good. The diamond firm 
in the movie is a stand in for the whole lot. No others were mentioned 
as far as I could tell. The movie does go a tad overboard with the 
demonization of the rebels (this is actually done literally with the 
rebels dancing around fires and breathing smoke). But while the 
government troops come off slightly better, they are still shown 
callously gunning down civilians. Moreover, it is made clear that the 
government is in bed with the diamond corporations and their racist 
for-profit white militias. But the context for the civil strife is 
clear: control of the diamond fields for export to Western markets, at 
a price determined by the Western corporations. Whatever real 
historical details the movie ignored, the message was unavoidable: this 
is the fault of the west, not of Africans. How you came to the 
conclusion that the corporations "save the day" is a mystery to me.

Solomon's "black skin" comment is a wonderful scene delivered very 
powerfully by Hounsou, and it is a rejection of racism, not an 
internalization of it.

And the little scene in which the old man--almost the last survivor in 
his village after a battle--comments that "I hope they don't find oil 
in our country because then we'd really be in trouble" was brilliant. 
The connections between Iraq and Sierra Leone, between imperialism, 
racism, and capitalism in Africa and the Middle East and the West's 
responsibility for causing all of it, were made in one simple joke that 
made the entire audience erupt in laughter.

It's not a perfect movie by any means. As mentioned, the movie is a tad 
self-indulgent in demonizing the rebels and creating a "bad guy" 
character, the love-story is insulting, and the UN-assembly was a poor 
choice for a resolution (it's hard to imagine anyone getting really 
emotional at any UN event) and the end titles proclaiming "Sierra Leone 
is at peace" and pimping the Kimberley Process undermined the strength 
and urgency of the movie. But Hounsou's performance was top-notch, 
Connelly was very good as well, and DiCaprio gave his best performance 
since The Basketball Diaries. Moreover, anything that can make people 
squirm and think when they see obnoxious holiday ads urging them to 
spend obscene amounts of money on pieces of stone and glass has gotta 
be a good thing.

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