14 May 2008
FLICKers of fire & Elephants in the Room
Part I: "3 Needles" (2005)
I just watched this flick last night. It left me contemplating afterward. It's about our current worldwide plague HIV/AIDS. The film shares 3 stories, each from the highly populated continents of Asia, Africa, and North America. Some areas in Asia, besides China, greatly affected are India & Thailand. We think of sex & IV drugs as being major causes, & they are. Tourism is also mentioned as contributing to the spread in China. With any plague of this magnitude there is controversy, stigma, deception, ignorance, greed. Poverty can lead people to pretty dire situations too. The special features have clips from "China AIDS Initiative" and "House of Fire" (in America) - worth seeing.
The rural Southern "Hunan" (sp?) Provence of China is highlighted with a story of un-mandated, poorly regulated blood plasma collection in farming villages where people were given the equivalent of $5 a donation, 5 times what the daily working profit might be from selling goods. This blood was pooled, then plasma separated, & red blood recycled back into countless individuals. What a nightmare! The North American porn industry is highlighted with one of the risks being that who people work with may not be honest in their mandated HIV testing. As well, we have to remember that for some unbeknownst reason some people actually seek out becoming infected. We all hear about how horrible the AIDS epidemic is in Africa. A couple of examples are addressed. One is tribal rituals, which may call for the sharing of a knife to cut several in a rite of passage type of ceremony. It's terrible to think of the conflict of keeping tradition alive & HIV being a possible/probable consequence. Poverty also speaks when a community desperate to make a buck finds old needles from missionaries & resells them without sterilizing. Also, the role of sex & rape in power struggles is prominent across the globe, unfortunately. If you're concerned about these kinds of social issues, well now you know another film to get.
Part II: "The Girl in the Cafe" (2005)
I just read my friend Deanna's post "Poverty is not natural..." Please go see it. You can click on it from the 'Musings from afar blog,' go to home (@ bottom left), journals (left again) & vualla. She eloquently describes the flick "The Girl in the Cafe." Side note: I recommend also going to the site www.storyofstuff.com with Annie Leonard who did 10 years of research on consumption at large (kudos Kale). Save at least 20 minutes to watch the video.
Something about reading about the G8 Summit again caused some sparks. I was telling her that I admire (& aspire to have) the conviction & bravery of "the girl in the cafe," who's character name escapes me at the moment. The US & our consumer society, that which demands convenience & promotes consumable products so that the next one can be bought is disgusting. This attitude is overflowing with many nations, not just the US & it's campaigning for being the #1 nation b/c of economical monopolization, industrial nations which benefit from this type of economics & want to remain the ring leaders, non-industrial nations which are employed by US b/c they are struggling to feed their children & need some type of income &/or are manipulated by this system. To me, it's such common sense that the resources we're using & wasting take time to regenerate & that piling the land, air, & ocean with trash is not beneficial to the health of the earth or people. duh! *slaps head*
What is it going to take to convince big wig corps to think ecologically & humanely? I know that they could make a high profit w/ eco-friendly products if the population at large would demand it. It seems like we're moving towards this divergence in environmental morality. There are a lot more people who do in fact demand these things & have created a lifestyle honoring efficiency. Others honor frivolity & convenience. Realistically, these corps have the power to say 'this is what we have (eco-friendly product A,B,or C) & there's no alternative b/c the people at large have to work to sustain this planet & civilization & we're in a position to enforce it.' Reality- we're not there yet cohesively.
This brings me to our current dilemma, obligation. If you're reading this you're probably past the first barrier-awareness. Where do we go from here? What can we do as individuals? As a broad population which has a bigger voice? We can change our personal lifestyles--don't buy consumable items, recycle, campaign, boycott, sign petitions, support organizations that fight for such issues, etc. We're still faced with the now & where is this going. What to do about these select corporations that have way too much power. I want to know what you all have to say about it. Every single one, even anonymously. :-) Please bounce your radical ideas this way! I need some help myself moving beyond this point.