This research focuses on the struggles of lower or working class in Sierra Leone. It includes the exploitation, harsh treatment and inequality of working class. There are rules made by the government for workers or lower class to follow, but some people do influential practice against them. The psychological condition of that class and the hypocrisy of the upper class is also discussed. In the movie, media plays a very important role to expose all the hypocrite and corrupt people. As my job is to apply Marxism to this movie; so, all the points are the part of that theory.
Movie starts with an action of exploitation and harsh treatment of RUF towards the natives of Sierra Leone. RUF was made because multinational organizations operating in Sierra Leone were not distributing the profits into local economy. So, because of that RUF started exploiting the native. From the very start RUF attack on native people and murder them, even they are cutting hands of the people. Captain Poison said: ” The government wants you to vote, okay? They going to tell you say, the future is in your hands. We now the future So we take your hands.- No more hands, no more voting” (scene 1, 0:03:51 – 0:06:31). They treat those natives harshly who are working with multinational capitalist companies, and who are following the policies of capitalistic government. Then in next scene is in Freetown, where Dany archer was convincing Solomon to stay with him and tell about that pink big diamond and in return he will help him to find his family. So, at that time Dany said: “without me, you are just another black man in Africa” (scene 3 , 0:43:01) . He is telling him this because the government soldiers are killing the black because they become rebellious and in this kind of situation he (Solomon) will also be killed by African soldiers. After some time, the RUF arrives at Freetown in Africa where Dany and Solomon are there. The people of RUF started shooting the local ones and then the African army soldiers arrived, and they attack RUF soldiers (scene 3, 0:43:05 – 0:47:03) . The African government is also in direct conflict with protagonist. When Solomon tries to find his family using the publicly available refugee lists and asks from a person about the refugee list and he replies, “File papers at the Office for Refugees.- Sir, I have filed papers with the office.” In his reply, man says “Then God help you, because I can’t”(scene 1, 0:30:07). The man is telling Solomon to see the list and fill the papers and he has already done this and still they are not helping him to find the family. Maddy says according to the manifest, his family is in Guinea. And at last Solomon finally finds his family, but he can’t take family with himself. Because government is not releasing them. At that time Maddy says to Solomon, “They said they’re concerned that some of the refugees might be rebels……so they refused to release them until there’s a cease-fire.”(scene 4 , 0:57:48).Now it shows, the cruel attitude of the government which develops conflict. Government refuses to release them until there is a ceasefire declared between the rebel RUF and the government. Maddy, Solomon and Dany go to another refugee camp to find Solomon’s son Día, but he is not there and then they move on. During travelling again, the rebel forces attack them, and they are not men ,they are young boys around 8 to 12 years; Whoever they see they shoot them. The driver of the car is hit by a bullet and dies then Dany starts driving and as soon as possible tries to go far from them (scene 5, 1:09:00 – 1:10:18).They save their life from that attack, then Solomon archer and Maddy meet a man named, Benjamin Margia who saves the life of little children from rebel force and some of the children don’t have their hands. Benjamin says, ” The Belgians were the first to chop off limbs in Africa. King Leopold took one hand for every hundredth slave in the Congo……to keep them in line. Many of these children were taken by the RUF. We have taken them back. Some of them have been made to do horrible things. We are trying to bring them back to life.”(scene 5, 1:14:04 – 1:14:25). It shows that how the rebellious people treat children; they are exploiting their new generation. After a long journey, Solomon sees his son with the rebel force and at that time Dany calls his force to attack them, “You tell the colonel I’ve found the stone. No, I haven’t got it in my hands, but I’m OP’ing its location. It’s a major rebel camp, my man. You tell him to send in the dakadak”(scene 6, 1:42:18 – 1:42:46) . Then at mid night Solomon sees his child there and he is caught by the rebels. By the next morning, the time comes when the army attacks the rebel force(scene 7, 1:47:51 – 1:50:57) due to which, many slaves die. So, the attitude ,behavior and the plans make by RUF give birth to exploitation of their society .They claim to be fighting for Sierra Leone with the intention of conquering the African government that apparently is loyal to “white masters.” However, to attain this task they are killing citizens, chopping their hands; so, they can’t vote, and take able-bodied men to work in their mines (which produce diamonds to sell to white nations).
Moreover, this movie deals with the psychological treatment of children and exploitation of their future. The psychological treatment of children starts when Dia is kidnapped by the rebels and treated very harshly. First, the soldiers of RUF tell them that their families are dead . “Your mothers and fathers, your brothers and sisters are dead.- You are dead! You have been reborn. We are your family now. Your parents are weak. They’re the farmers. They’re the fishermen. They’ve done nothing but suck the blood from this country. But you are the heroes who will save this nation. You are not children anymore. You’re men. No one has ever given you respect……but with this in your hand ,they will. If you do not get the respect you deserve……you will take it by shedding their blood.”(scene 3, 0:34:59 – 0:36:21).Now they are trying to tell them that their parents are weak and cannot stand for their child and for country. Now you will start a new life and you are the heroes of the nation. RUF brainwashes the children by inculcating the idea that they are newborn now. Their parents do not have strength so that they defend them. Now they all are combined in a new way. Captain poison encourages Día to kill a man. “It’s hard to be a man. Sit up. Come. But you are a soldier of the revolution now. And I am your commander. Whatever you need……guns, CDs, food……come to me. I will take care of you. Today, you are promoted to the rank of captain.” (scene 3, 0:36:57 – 0:37:43) Captain Poison wants to take revenge from Solomon because Solomon has hidden a big diamond and not telling him and by treating his child harshly he will take revenge. The rebels give drugs to children and make them psychologically weak. “This medicine will make you strong……make you invisible to your enemies. Bullets will bounce off you.”(scene 5, 1:07:49 – 1:08:46)These are said by captain Rambo; who works for Captain Poison. In the movie a time comes when Solomon sees his son in the camp of rebels and playing cards ,he came to him slowly and in whispering voice he says, “Dia. Come with me, I am your father “and in reply Día says, ” Get away from me. I do not know you. Traitor! Enemy! Enemy. I don’t know you! I hate you! I hate you! Fisherman! Traitor! Get away from me!”(scene 7, 1:43:23 – 1:45:59)
This scene shows the boy’s response to his father and it shows three months of horror of deprivation and unspeakable acts that have taken roots in the soul of that little boy; This is the psychological treatment by the rebels especially by Captain Poison. Now in the second last scene when the colonel dies from the fire of Dany, and at that time Dany is picking the guns and when he sees up Día is holding a gun that is straight on archer. When Solomon sees this, he says, “Día! “at that time his eyes flicker to Solomon. Then Solomon says, “What are you doing? Of the proud Mende tribe. You are a good boy who loves soccer and school. Your mother loves you so much. She waits by the fire making plantains……and red palm oil stew with your sister……and the new baby. The cows wait for you. And Babu, the wild dog who minds only you. I know they made you do bad things….but you are not a bad boy. I am your father……who loves you. And you will come home with me and be my son again”(scene 7, 1:56:55 – 1:58:40) During his talk to Dia Solomon walks right up to him ,ignoring the gun and wraps his arms around him This is the emotional scene and this scene proves that Dia is Solomon’s son and he can understand what is love and family. These are all points which shows the psychological treatment of child by the rebellion and it ends in good form.
After that ,hypocrisy and materialistic nature plays an important role in the movie. It includes the government, Van De Kaap , and Mr. Simmons all three of them play equal roles to exploit the public. Similarly, Colonel Coetzee and Dany Archer have materialistic nature. The government knows that both Van De Kaap and Simmons are corrupt but still the government hand over their business of diamond to them. Dany is a solider, but also a smuggler and mercenary. In the very start of the movie, Dany goes to commander zero who is member of RUF to take diamonds from him and he wants to smuggle them. They smuggle diamonds to Liberia so, while travelling he is caught by the African army soldiers. ” Hello, hello, hello. Papers, please”. Then archer says, “Danny Archer, National Geographic.” Then soldier says, “You are crossing into Liberia.” Again, Dany says, ” I’ve got a letter from the minister of interior and a Liberian visa as well. I’m doing a story on the Marrakaz, who, as you know……are allowed to cross the border in order to get into grazing grounds. You ever read National Geographic, huh?” then the soldier checks the goats with whom Dany is walking and suddenly the soldier finds diamonds under the skin of goat so at that time solider says, “You’re under arrest for smuggling.” When he is caught by the army soldiers ,he makes reasons and gives him reference of colonel Coetzee. ” I am good friends with Colonel Coetzee. Colonel Coetzee would not be pleased that you’ve interfered with his business. Now, you know who I am, all right? You don’t want to make trouble for me or my friends, all right? Now, look, why don’t I just look the other way, all right? You take one or two of those stones and get something lacquer for the wife……or maybe the mistress, all right? We’ll solve the problem right here, huh?” Then the solider says, “We’ll go back to Freetown and ask Colonel Coetzee……how he wishes to thank his business associate.”(scene 1, 0:12:47 – 0:14:37)They take him to prison in Freetown where Solomon is also arrested because soldiers think that he is a rebel. Dany was selfish and materialistic so at that time when Solomon got released from prison he chases him to talks about that big diamond. In the start he does not know what has happened to Solomon and his family. He I s thinking about that diamond but when he realizes that Solomon has lost his family. Then Dany helps him to find his family and it becomes his priority and they have talked about that Dany will help him and Solomon will also help Dany to find that diamond. Dany says, “Without me, you’re just another black man in Africa, all right? Oh , shit. We got no time. What’s it going to be? You would say anything. How can I trust you? I don’t give a fuck about you, all right? That diamond could be priceless! We split it, and you get your family.”(scene 3, 0:43:03 – 0:43:24).Here, RUF attacks in Freetown so Dany is trying to convince Solomon to help him and in return he will help Solomon. After the attack on rebel force by the army in scene 7 ,colonel Coetzee comes and asks Solomon about that hidden diamond. But he does not tell them then at this point Dany becomes selfish and bring his son in front of colonel to take him and then Solomon will tell you. At last Dany and Solomon understand each other and through their eye contact they decided to dogg them but at this instant Dany kills colonel because of that diamond ,he is picking guns from ground. A little time passes he feels that he is hit by the bullet . “This is Colonel Coetzee. He wants the diamond.- No more than you.- You gonna show us where it’s hidden? Does he speak English? He will only tell me, sir. I promise you that…………You just tell him where it is, all right? I do not trust him. I don’t trust him either, but we haven’t got much of a choice here. I promise you he will shoot us both in the head .If he tells us, do we have a deal, sir?- Seventy-thirty. Sixty-forty. I’ve already lined up a buyer. Agreed Come here. This is his son. Vandy will do whatever you want for his sake, all right?……”(scene 7, 1:51:55 – 1:53:32).Here, Dany kills colonel because he doesn’t want that some other person takes that diamond.
Media is that element which plays a vital role in the movie, especially, in Solomon’s life. Maddy Bowen is a reporter and is trying to capture those incidents which are there in Sierra Leone like exploitation of black people ,hypocrisy of upper class and so on. Similarly, she wants to expose Van De Kaap and Simmons. In (scene 4 , 1:02:04 – 1:03:41) “After I smuggle the stones across the border……local buyers get them to a middleman in Monrovia. Go on. He pays off Customs and then certifies that the diamonds were mined in Liberia. That way, they can be legally exported. Now, once they’ve reached the buyers in Antwerp….diamonds are brought to the sorting tables……no more questions are asked. By the time they get to India……the dirty stones are mixed with the clean stones from all over the world……and then they become like any other diamonds. And Van De Kaap knows about all this?…………Now, there’s an underground vault……where they put all the stones they buy up to keep off the market……so they can keep the price high. If rebels wanna flood the market with a billion dollars’ worth of rough……a company like Van De Kaap.”All this information about government ,corrupt people ,hypocrite and smugglers is given by Dany to Maddy to put all that information in newspaper and expose them but after his death. The last scene of the movie also describes the role of media. In that scene, Solomon goes to London to meet Maddy Bowen, and they plan to expose Simmons’ corruption and bring Solomon’s family back. When Solomon sits in a car with Mr. Simmons ,they have a conversation. “You must understand, Mr. Vandy……that your diamond could have ended up nowhere else but with us.- It is not enough.- I assure you, 2 million pounds……is more than anyone else will offer you for that stone under the circumstances. I want what was promised to me by Mr. Archer.- What was promised to you?- My family. When they are here, you will get the stone. I will have the money too. Well, may I see what I’m buying? You will get the stone once my family is here.”(scene 8 , 2:09:47 – 2:10:36)They have made agreement that if they give back the family, then Solomon will give that diamond to Simmons. All these scenes are captured by Maddy because she is taking pictures of Simmons. And at the end, Solomon meets his family and Simmons gets that diamond, but one thing is left to expose Simmons. So, Maddy put all that information in newspapers that Dany give her. She puts their names ,dates their bank accounts because Dany is dead, and he tells her to publish it when he dies. On television and in newspapers there is a news and especially in the parliament of that country, the president say “The natural resources of a country……are the property of its people. They are not ours to steal……or exploit in the name of our comfort, our corporations, or our consumerism.”(scene 8, 2:12:46 – 2:13:08) and after that Solomon is called by the president and awarded. So, this is the power of media; which helps Solomon to find out his family and to expose the corruption of corrupt people.
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Now comes class struggle. It plays an important role in the movie. From the very start of the movie Solomon Vandy struggles hard to have a good life, He is a fisherman, having a wife ,two daughters and one son. He dreams and thinks that one day his son will be a doctor, so Solomon daily takes his son to school for study. As he belongs to a lower class and cannot afford high level schools. Now onward Solomon struggle to work hard and earn more money to give his children a better future. But a day comes when Solomon is taking his son to school, the rebel force attack on that village where Solomon lives. That rebel force takes Solomon with them and make him a slave who works for them to find diamonds under the water. One day he finds a big pink diamond and buries it under the ground (scene 1, 0:15:11 – 0:17:51). At that time, he is thinking that if he sells that diamond he will get a huge amount of money and he can give a good and secure future to his family. But at the same time the army attacks the rebels and catches Solomon and takes him to prison in Freetown. This is his first struggle to have a good life because the corrupt and hypocritic government is not giving equal rights to lower class in Sierra Leone .The rebel force wants to bring revolution ,for this they have named their group: RUF(Revolutionary United Front).This revolution is against the government, but their revolution and struggle lead them to exploitation , hatred and shedding blood of innocent people. After tha,t at the end of scene 2 Solomon’s son Día is taken by the rebels and in the whole movie he struggles to find his family .when Solomon meets his wife and daughters in a refugee camp in Guinea he is happy, but there is no sign of his son.so he with Dany archer tries to find Dia . While Solomon and Dany in their journey to find Dia, a time comes when both fights. Solomon says ” He’s alive! He’s there with those crazy people! I am his father! His father! I should have protected him! I must go find him. I cannot live without knowing! Shoot me if you want, but I’m going. Why should it matter, I’m dead already.”(scene 6, 1:35:40 – 1:36:50), and Dany is very angry first but after some time he understands that he’s a father. Here in this scene shows a love of father towards his son and that struggle which boosts him to find his son. And in the last scene when Solomon meets Simmons in a car at that time he only wants his family .and at the end he become a respectable man and awarded by the president.
All those elements in the movie like exploitation, harsh treatment, psychological treatment of children ,Practice against the rule and laws made by government lead to class struggle.