All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control,’ they called it; in Newspeak, ‘doublethink.’” George Orwell, 1984.
Blood Diamond is a Hollywood film depicting horrific bloodshed in West Africa, in 1999, spawned by the lust for diamonds. The film opens with the understatement that “thousands have died and millions have become refugees.” But more than 70,000 people died in Sierra Leone’s war. The film immediately segues to a palatial boardroom in Antwerp, Belgium, to the G-8 Conference on diamonds. The all-white executives are ostensibly concerned, holding worried discussions about…the fate of people? Africa’s people?
“According to a devastating report by Global Witness,” says one of the G-8 execs, “these [conflict] stones are being used to purchase arms and finance civil war.” The inference is that world leaders were surprised by the revelations of Global Witness—a London-based watchdog organization that the film clearly advertised for exposing corporate malfeasance. “We must remember that these stones comprise only a small percentage of the legitimate diamond industry,” says another G-8 exec, “whose trade is critical to the economies of many emerging nations.” Excuse me? Legitimate diamond industry? Emerging nations…?
The Africans in the film are remarkably well dressed and salubrious, and the African scenes are remarkably sunny, clean, or, well, sanitized: the effects of poverty and hunger are made invisible. Indeed, the film plays and replays miscellaneous objectionable stereotypes and inaccuracies, but this is Hollywood, after all, part of the American media, where degrading racial themes are routinely peddled. The film also has its share of embedded corporate branding—Hustler; Smirnoff, National Geographic; Guinness; BBC; UNCHR, Mercedes, World Food Program… (continue reading by the link above)