AVATAR : between fiction and reality

As an alternative to 3D theater non existent here in Madagascar, you can always rely on rental pirated VideoCD for only 500 Ariary (our national currency) and enjoy the latest US blockbuster sci-fi movie Avatar; for that price don’t expect a good quality sound/image but rather be happy that you don’t contribute to the capital-intensive entertainment of Holywood where the movie got 1 Million USD for only one week because it’s exactly what the movie want to rail against: Captalism and Imperialism. Just like Michael Moore’s former documentaries or Wachovskys’ Matrix, the movie director James Cameron had no other way to project his political views than using the same system he – I suppose — want to crumble down. In an interview, Cameron says that he plans to move in New Zealand, away of western civilization when it will fall (BTW why NZ? ) .

The first movie that came into my mind while watching Avatar is, not “Dance with Wolves” nor “Pocahontas” but “Age of Stupid”, a environmental documentary released last year who stated that at the rate this western capitalism-driven development lead us, mankind have to find 5 another Earth-like planets to satisfy their greed or just to survive and this happens in Avatar. In a near future, planet earth dwellers colonize a distant planet called Pandora to take from it an important mineral needed in industry regardless the being of the population there, the Nav’is. The plot is predictable with an happy ending after a Mel Gibson-like battle against the Alien (people from Earth) but beyond fiction and digital animation prowess lays the very reality of modern Imperialism and Neo-colonization. Aren’t the Nav’is the indigenous peasants in Bolivia expelled by the Government from the forest they’re living in because it will be used by Multinational (backed by Monsanto) for industrial Soya plantation. Isn’t Pandora a place that exists here somewhere in Africa particularly in Congo (or Sudan), undermined by years of civil war as ill luck would have it because their land have an abundance of Coltan (mainly used in electronic industry). Aren’the Military in Avatar an alegory to Rio Tinto and Sheritt in Madagascar, destroying the local fabric of Anosy region’s society for illmenite titanium sand’s sake, bringing bane than boon (prostitution, criminality, corruption) to local people of Moramanga for Nickel and Cobalt. Now as we can read on the newspaper, a first series of remittances — according to former mining contracts — will be given to the Malagasy Government both from Rio Tinto and Sheritt company but I doubt that it would bring considerable change to the economic situation of the local people and for the whole country. And above all, like in the movie Avatar, environmnent destruction is inevitable in mining extraction no matter how “environmentally responsible” these mining company would pretend as they always tried (like Exxon Mobil and Total funding research on climate change).

Well, Avatar can be considered as a mere distraction movie but for a Malagasy’s point of view it just brings the message of mutual respect between people culturally different and having different approach of life. Imagine You live in a environmetally peacefull place along with your community (not Robinson Crusoe), grow vegetable (bio) and run a small farm, sometimes you buy goods like TV from the money you earn from your masonry-work skill( I mean a society with a monetary system) and suddenly De Beers comes and says you have to move away and find another place because there is diamond in your garden, or if you like you can work for them as a nightwatchman. I mean who have the right to coerce other people to adopt a specific way of life based on profit since Mining Industry is just a tool in expanding capitalist system through technology appliances, is it hard to understand that some people don’t want Ferrari and luxiruous watch (and offcourse ipod). I don’t want to put it in the field of Anthropology in a Levi-Strauss style but … just leave us alone.

See also:
Blood Mining Industry
Coltan info
Age of Stupid Review


~ by tolotra on January 8, 2010.

3 Responses to “AVATAR : between fiction and reality”

  1. Have you already found the DVD here?

  2. No, not yet maybe on late february. You, you only watch DVD ?

  3. Nope, was just a question 🙂
    I’m looking forward to seeing the movie that has over run Titanic in term of incomes, so far.

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