[Marxism] blood diamonds

gregory meyerson gmeyerson at triad.rr.com
Sun Dec 10 10:15:16 MST 2006

one more movie comment.  I'm supposed to be grading, but I keep 
thinking about the film, why it bugged me so much.

there are no africans (apart from danny archer, the white rhodesian) 
with real agency in the film, apart from the sociopaths.  it is the 
reporter, and danny archer who exercise the determining direction in 
the film.  it is they who save solomon's life repeatedly.  the man who 
runs the deprogramming of RUF brainwashed child infantry, a very good 
guy, but naive--he too is ultimately saved by danny archer, the 
mercenary with the heart in process of becoming gold, so to speak.  and 
it is the conscience of the west that ultimately triumphs over the 
moments of cynicism represented periodically in speeches by the 
reporter and the mercenary.

mel gibson and sigourney weaver all over again from "the year of living 
dangerously."  except, in this film, we have the kimberly process as 

Imagine: make the reporter something other than a gorgeous euro 
american woman, huh?  throw doubt on the kimberly process.  maybe have 
the guy who runs the charity save the mercenary's life instead of vice 
versa.  this would have greatly altered the movie's "structure of 

in heart of darkness, black africans exercise no positive agency though 
some are "noble."  this movie is no repeat of heart of darkness.  too 
much liberal multiculturalism for that.  but it doesn't break with it 
enough for my taste.

okay. bye.

On Dec 10, 2006, at 2:24 AM, DCQ wrote:

> 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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