Last weekend my parents and Eric and I went to see the movie "Blood Diamond." It's already off screen in most places (we had to go to the "cheap" theater to see it), but PLEASE, if you haven't seen it already, mark the date it will be out on DVD and see it (or see if it's still on the large screen in your area)! Not only is it a very good movie, it's also a very important movie to see (especially if you are hoping to adopt from West Africa).
It's been several days since I saw the movie, but I am still haunted by it several times a day. The movie educates viewers about what blood diamonds are. It also does a good job (from what I've read) portraying how children go from being children, to child soldiers. How they are tricked into killing. How they are pumped up on drugs to make them feel powerful. How they are brainwashed into believing that their own families are the enemy.
I think I cried through half of the movie. I have so many friends who have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Liberia (just next door to Sierra Leone where this movie takes place, and going through the same horrible war in 1999). I watched this movie and thought of the children in orphanages in Liberia RIGHT NOW who lived through these atrocities. I thought of the 7 year old I heard of just a few weeks ago that was adopted but then found to have been so traumatized by being a child soldier in Liberia that he has been placed into an institution so that he doesn't kill his adoptive family. I think of the babies that were literally cut out of their mother's womb--the "lucky" ones who lived (sometimes with chopped off limbs) and the others who died. I think of the girls and women who were raped until dead. And I think about how amazing it is that so far Ghana hasn't been sucked into all of the civil unrest in West Africa.
Blood Diamond is not a fun movie to see. It's not a feel good movie (even the happy ending isn't so happy). But it's a movie that Americans NEED to see! So many people are still so in the dark about the atrocities that have occurred in Africa just in the last 10 years. And even for those of us who have heard of these horrible wars, and read books about them, it's not the same as seeing the graphic images that are portrayed in this movie (and the graphic images in the movie are, I believe, tame in comparison to the reality of these wars).
There are still estimated to be 200,000 child soldiers in Africa. In Guinea, RIGHT NOW, rebels are causing civil unrest and using the same tactics as they did in Sierra Leone and Liberia just a few years ago. These children need our attention. If nothing else, they need our prayers.
Oh--and you'll never look at a diamond the same way again after you see this movie. See it--at least the trailor.