1. What human rights issues were illustrated in the film? What international laws are in place to stop or prevent those abuses? “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.” Source: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ The human rights are inherent to all human beings, however throughout the film it can be seen that these human rights are not present in Sierra Leone.
The most significant human rights issues that were relevant in the film were freedom and equality. These human rights were violated by the rebels and diamond traders, firstly Solomon was forced into slavery in a diamond mine by the RUF, where there were several other individuals working as slaves in horrific conditions. Also there was genocide present in the film as the RUF killed innocent civilians who were not following his commands. There are approximately 30 human rights laws that have been induced to present to prevent unjust acts against individuals. The human rights laws 1-5 that are currently established that are most significant in relation to preventing these inhumane acts that occurred in Sierra Leone.
2. Do you think that the violence depicted in the film is necessary to accurately portray the situation in Sierra Leone in 1999? The violence presented in the film, was necessary in order to accurately portray what was actually occurring in Sierra Leone during 1999, as that is what was actually happening back then. Also, through presenting such horrific scenes, individuals viewing the movie would actually understand the tough and inhumane situations that the people in Africa were in. Even whilst watching the film, some viewers may feel frightened of what was happening and makes them think what would they feel like if they were in their shoes. Thus, making it necessary for the film to include these scenes.
3. After the RUF burns Solomon’s village, they chop off the hands of the villagers. What is the significance of this action? What does it symbolise? In the film Blood Diamond, the rebels caught the civilians and were picking fitt and built adults to use as ‘slaves’ and workers. Although, those who were not fit enough were held captive and had their hands cut off. The rebel’s captain Poison ironically stated that ‘the future is in your hands”, therefore if they did not have their hands then they would not have anything to guide their life with. Thus, making them useless. It may symbolise that if they have no hands, then they would have no way of guiding their future.
4. The film began and ended in Antwerp, Belgium. How did the events in Belgium relate to events in Sierra Leone? The film ended in Antwerp, Belgium and there was a connection between the events what occurred in Sierra Leone to Belgium, as the individuals responsible for financing the warfare and terror in Sierra Leone were the diamond traders in Belgium. Therefore, there was some relation between the events that occurred in Sierra Leone to Belgium.
5. In the beginning of the film, all Danny seems to care about is himself. At the end of the film, however, he is willing to die to protect Solomon. What prompted Danny’s change of heart? At first the protagonist, Leonardo Dicaprio, was a diamond dealer who only wanted to create wealth for himself. However, throughout the end of film he had a sudden change of heart where he sacrificed himself for Solomon. The cause of Danny’s change of heart may have been the journey that the had gone through with Solomon and throughout the journey he may have realised that his family’s love was more important than everything and, certainly, that the love has more power than money.
Although the most significant reason for his sudden change of heart was the relationship he built with Maddi the reporter and also with Solomon but primarily with Maddi. She taught Danny the fundamental aspects of the warfare and its effects on the people. Prior to meeting Maddi, all Danny cared about was the wealth he was going to obtain through the diamonds, Maddi had opened his eyes and allowed the goodness of Danny to take over him and throughout the end of the film he was considerably more 6.When Danny talks to Benjamin, the school teacher, Benjamin says that he wants to believe all people are basically good, but his experience tells him otherwise. Danny replies that people are just people.
What do you think he means by this statement? By stating that people are just people, Danny states that people are shaped by their experiences, and they are able to choose to be good or bad as the world allows. Throughout the film, there are several characters that show that this statement is correct. Firstly, Solomon who lives a considerably poor life but he lives it with joy and persists to make better lifestyles for his family. He chose to be good and in the end he was able to free his family from the cruelty and began a new life in the UK. Whilst in contrast, Captain Poison who had probably grown amidst the warfare, however, he would’ve had choices to whether to be good or bad, although he had chosen the easier way out and therefore, he ended being a merciless individual.
7. At the end of the film, Solomon comes face to face with Captain Poison, the RUF commander responsible for forcing Solomon into slavery and turning his son, Dia, into a child solider. Captain Poison says that Solomon might think he’s the devil, but it is only because he lives in hell. In what ways is Captain Poison a product of his environment and in what way is he a product of his choices? Captain Poison states that Solomon may think he is the devil, but it is only because he lives in hell. Through this statement, it can be concluded that he had probably grown up amidst the conflict and chaos caused by the diamond conflicts. He would have seen and experienced horrific and inhumane situations and that kind of extreme brutality shaped his worldview.
Although, he chose to become part of the cycle of violence rather than try and change it or leave. Therefore, he would have had the choice of removing himself from the violence but he chose not to. As previously stated by the protagonist of the film, people are just people and they are shaped by their experiences but they are able to choose to be good or bad, Captain Poison’s past experiences would have turned him into what he is right now but he would’ve had the choice of either embracing the warfare or get away from it, but he had chosen the easier way out and had embraced the warfare which is why he was seen a horrifying and merciless person.
8. Though the film focuses on the devastation of war, it also deals with reconciliation, rehabilitation, and hope. What are some specific scenes that deal with these topics? How can the country begin to reconcile and recover from the effects of war? The government of the Sierra Leone made slow progress in regards to helping its citizens recover from the warfare that had occurred, in the film it can be seen that the government builds camps for those seeking refuge. Although as stated previously, the government was only making a slight progress as Sierra Leone is considered a poor third world country and due to its lack of wealth it can only make slight progresses after such big events.
Also, it has become apparent that there are still rebels who are trading diamonds as a source of wealth thus, showing that minimal actions were made to prevent such horrific events from happening again. Also throughout the film, Danny along with Solomon and Maddi accidently run into Benjamin a teacher who takes children who have been affected by the warfare and assists them to get better and allows them to have a better lifestyle. In the film it showed the process of how children there recover and showed some of those children who weren’t able to recover from the effects of the war and RUF.
A country can begin to reconcile and recover from the effects of war although as previously stated, Sierra Leone is a significantly poor country and it relies on neighbouring countries and organisations to assist them in recovering from such horrific events. Thus, organisations such as Red Cross or the United Nations are able to support them in times of need. Firstly the United Nations is always there to provide aid for such Countries that have been affected by warfare. Also the Red Cross organisation is one of the first organisations to come to aid. One of their main goals is to provide assistance for developing countries and countries that have been involved in warfare and provides assistance so that they can build a better country. However recovering from such horrendous events will be timeconsuming due to the tight budget capacity, as a lot of money will be invested into reconstructing villages and providing food for those without homes.