Monday, December 21, 2009

Avatar - parallels to our dark side

Most of my friends who saw the movie ‘Avatar’ were just blown away by the graphics, picturization and the creativity. To put in the words of my ever optimistic friend, the movie was just ‘beyond brilliant’ :) I too liked the movie for all the above reasons. But all through the time that I was sitting in the theatre, I was reminded of a few other things.

To me, the story is a reminder of the dark side of humans. All through the history, till today, we’ve been doing the exact same thing as depicted in the movie. Human’s greed for resources, power and control have repeatedly resulted in and still resulting in wars and destruction. 

The imperial powers considered themselves superior to all other races – the Africans, Native American, Asians, Australian Aborigines, Polynesians and so many others. They set out to conquer these lands, ‘civilize’ these people and in the process plunder their wealth and loot their resources.  The religious practices of these people were considered barbaric and hence they were replaced by Christianity. They were ‘educated’ and as specified in the movie, taught to love light beer and blue jeans. The Na’vi portrayed in the movie bore great similarities to the Native Americans.

Till around the 1970s, Australia had a policy of forcibily removing the Aborigine (Native Australians) children and putting them in foster care or orphanages. This was done with the ‘noble’ cause of protecting them and ‘civilizing’ them. They underwent untold miseries, sexual harassment and so on. They are the ‘stolen generation’.  One first hand account (from Wikipedia) goes like this:
“I was at the post office with my Mum and Auntie [and cousin]. They put us in the police ute and said they were taking us to Broome. They put the mums in there as well. But when we'd gone [about ten miles (16 km)] they stopped, and threw the mothers out of the car. We jumped on our mothers' backs, crying, trying not to be left behind. But the policemen pulled us off and threw us back in the car. They pushed the mothers away and drove off, while our mothers were chasing the car, running and crying after us. We were screaming in the back of that car. When we got to Broome they put me and my cousin in the Broome lock-up. We were only ten years old. We were in the lock-up for two days waiting for the boat to Perth.

Now, the Australian government is going around apologizing for this policy.

The situation is no better these days. Governments and big corporations are fighting like dogs to plunder and loot natural resources. They are funding scores of brutal, heartless dictatorships and rebel movements in places like Africa just to get access to the valuable resources. I am able to relate the plot in the movie to almost exactly what is happening in Congo today.

Congo, especially eastern Congo holds 80% of the mineral ‘Coltan’. This is the main element that goes into electronic devices like our cell phones and laptop batteries. There are allegations that the vast market for Coltan has fuelled barbaric conflicts in Congo. The country has seen the most devastating conflicts since world war 2 and has resulted in death of more than 5 million people. But who cares? All we need is some Coltan.

There are hundreds of other such instances – the tribal conflicts in India, the destruction of rain forests and natives in south America, the oil wars of the middle east, the blood diamonds of Angola, the genocide of Darfur…

As I keep rambling all the time, we have outgrown this planet.  We are destroying our fellow beings, the forests, animals just to satisfy our greed for resources. And adding to that, we are heating up the planet, thus paving way for disastrous environmental consequences which in turn is going to give rise to more wars and brutalities.

Of course, there are pockets of good qualities – kind souls trying to make this planet a better place to live. But given our huge size and materialistic life styles, I don’t see us turning a new leaf and start living in harmony with each other. We would need a revolution, a peaceful mind blowing revolution to make us turn around.

This topic seems to be a favourite blogging topic for me :). I have mentioned these things in one way or other in many of my posts:
I also stumbled upon this article on the net. This is quite anti-American. I wouldn't go about putting so much blame on one country. But these things hold good for most of the 'priveleged' class all around the globe. And the photos are pretty powerful.


gops' blog said...

watchout for the day when arctic ice melts... all superpowers will fight for oil...
we.. as usual.. can stand and watch :)

nice post dad... loved it!!