The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

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The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Felstaff » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:49 pm UTC

Resident forumite, IRC-hobbyist, and social colossus casiguapa had her article published in The Observer today, and I think you should all read it. It precedes her documentary, to be shown on Tuesday 9pm GMT on BBC3 (those in the UK, or with a good proxy, can watch it from the link)

Basically, there is a war in Eastern Congo that we are all responsible for. Yes, you especially. There is war over the precious element mines, and the guerilla fighters are using rape and mutilation as a weapon against the women of Congo. You might not realise it, but your laptops, iPods, cellular telephonic devices and ...pretty much all the technology around you is most likely made from the coltan, cobalt and cassiterite mined in the Congo (80% of the world's supply). This war is over control of the mines, and international mineral companies (including from your respective nations) are fuelling this conflict, so you can buy cheap laptops. It's not fair; and you & I are unwittingly a part of it.

xkcd is wonderful for having a staunchly feminist base, but this isn't about the Oh me yarm [pop-culture] sexism! that flows out of every armchair blog; this is serious fucking stuff. Women are being raped so you can buy technology cheap, if you want to Occam's Razor this shiz up. Why is this happening? Because the rebels who want to wrest control of the mines seek to destroy the heart of the villages surrounding them. And who is at the heart of every community? It is the women. If you target the women, the community collapses and there is nothing left but an anarchical vacuum, and thus the village is swiftly taken by the rebels, who sell the minerals on for cheap to manufacturing companies all over the world, through illegal and unethical channels. These minerals may well be used to build the very monitor I'm looking at now. (srsly, write to Dell, ASUS, et al, to find out if they're obtaining their manufacturing materials from legitimate sources. You wouldn't buy clothing if you knew it was made in a sweatshop, nor a blood diamond, so why cannot the same be said for the technology we all crave?)

Casiguapa visited the places this is happening (9pm, March 30th, BBC3!) and these warcrimes have gone shamefully underreported for so many years.

This, as I hope you'll agree with me, needs attention. Please read her article, and anything else you can find out about this invisible conflict that you are by proxy affecting more than you realise.

Also, as I'm a son-of-a-bitch's bastard moderator who only lives to abuse his power, I'm stickying this topic for 7 days. Ha!

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby joshz » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:22 am UTC

This seems really awful. What can we do to help?
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Dream » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:25 am UTC

joshz wrote:This seems really awful. What can we do to help?

There is a chance the BBC will make more programmes like this, and even a chance that Casi would be involved in them. So watch the show, and give the BBC as much feedback as you can, encouraging them to stick with what is a very difficult thing for them to report, simply because it is often considered too horrifying to put on the news.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby olubunmi » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:22 pm UTC

I knew the situation was bad in Congo, but it's much worse than I thought it would be. Then I thought it could be.
It's a really moving article, it makes you think about the situation there.
Too bad I can't see the documentary. I live in the Netherlands, and we only have BBC 1 and 2 here...

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Telchar » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

Talk about something you never hear much about and feel especially powerless to do anything about. Awareness is one thing, but how do you solve the problem? Ugh, really bad.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby casiguapa » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:46 pm UTC

Awareness is the first step. There is a lot we can do. The UN want to pull out of the Congo, the situation there isn't stable enough for them to leave. Put pressure on your governments, local and national. Put pressure on your companies to find out where they're buying their resources.

If a three-year old girl had suffered the same fate in the US the girl I met in Congo had, it would be a worldwide outrage. Africa is far away, but that should never be an excuse.

Sometimes the most you can help is by firstly educating yourself and those around you. Read on on the issues, let others know. The more people are aware, the more we can come together as an international community of humans with compassion to force our governments to do something.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Weeks » Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:47 pm UTC

Why unsticky it so quickly? I don't think the sticky does anybody harm. I'd say leave it for a month at least!
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby crowey » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:16 pm UTC

FUUUUUCK. It's something I was vaguely aware of, but hadn't really realised was this bad.

(also, I've posted a slightly edited version of felstaff's post on another forum I use, because I can, like).

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Azrael001 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

I was completely unaware of this. Having read the articles, I'm speechless. It's been a long time since anything I've read has broken my shell of apathy. This has.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Felstaff » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

Everyone switch to BBC3! It's starting!
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby tin » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

Myself and my flatmates just watched your documentary, Jude, and found it insightful and immensely powerful. It moved two of us to tears. I applaud you for drawing attention to such a harrowing subject which needs to be addressed. I can't begin to fathom tackling the things you saw during your journey.

Consider me spamming the world at large with your Observer article too. :)
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:12 pm UTC

I read about the coltan mines in National Geographic ten-ish years ago, but back then the articles were all about the animal life, especially the gorillas, being slaughtered and sold as meat to keep the mines going on the cheap.

This is... this is worse.

Article, prepare to be Facebook'd.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby BlackSails » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:23 pm UTC

This was actually brought up on one of the most recent law and order SVU episodes

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Hawknc » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

Facebooked, and I'll be asking my employer about ensuring both us and our suppliers are not using raw materials that are contributing to the conflict. Though, I'm concerned about the thousands of laptops and PCs in the company - no clue if the supplier of those is held to the same ethics standards as my company is.

At the very least, it's making me think twice about buying an iPad.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Dream » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

Foreign Corporate exploitation
Although the countries mentioned above directly exploit coltan, foreign multi-national corporations have been deeply involved in the exploitation of coltan in the Congo. The coltan mined by rebels and foreign forces is sold to foreign corporations. Although, the United Nations in its reports on the Congo do not directly blame the multi-national corporations for the conflict in the Congo, the United Nations does say that these companies serve as "the engine of the conflict in the DRC."

Major United States players identified by the UN include:
Cabot Corporation, Boston, MA
OM Group, Cleveland, Ohio
AVX, Myrtle Beach, SC
Eagle Wings Resources International, Ohio
Trinitech International, Ohio
Kemet Electronics Corporation, Greenville, SC
Vishay Sprague. Malvern, PA

Corporations from other countries have been a part of the coltan exploitation chain. These companies include but are not limited to Germany's HC Starc and EPCOS, China's Nigncxia, and Belgium's Traxys and George Forrest International.

Once the coltan is processed and converted to capacitors, it is then sold to companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Alcatel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard , IBM, Lucent, Ericsson and Sony for use in a wide assortment of everyday products ranging from cell phones to computer chips and game consoles.

Taken from http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/new/coltan.php

It's unsourced, so take it with a pinch of salt, but the UN list should be a good place to start.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby el_loco_avs » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

Man. Odd thing is... probably because of the fighting and insanity going on, despite DRC having 64-80% of the world's reserve they only produce a fraction of the world's current production (1% or something) (wiki numbers).
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby maja » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:58 am UTC

Seriously?!?

I know I'll sound like a heartless cynic, so just to be clear: I think what is happening to women in Congo is absolutely and completely unacceptable.

But this "documentary" was just ridiculous. A patronising, simplistic, weepy personal-journey-reality-show which is completely culturally naive to top. Where do you people live? OK, forget that, where does this girl live? Seriously: she wants to be a political journalist, she comes from Congo, and she didn't realise what was going on there? And it is coltan, not wolfram, and it isn't used in bloody mobile phone vibrators either. You'd have thought she (or the producers) would have at least read the wiki page before they went there.

How about a well researched documentary explaining the complex political, economical, cultural etc. issues that are at work here? Is a slightly voyeuristic reality show really the only way to make people "aware" about the issues? Does it even make them aware in any significant sense of the word?

I think it is sad that the target audience is assumed to be too daft to be able to understand the issues unless they can relate to a twenty-something nightclubbing iphone carrier.. Sorry if I offended anyone I sure don't mean to, but I get offended by condescending campaigns such as this one.

Just to be fair, I'm all for raising awareness, and I would normally just wave off a disappointing film like this, but I watched it on the recommendation of xkcd people, that's what made me actually approach it with certain standards and expectations in mind.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby casiguapa » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

I know I'll sound like a pissed off documentary maker so let me make it clear: I'm glad you think this situation is completely and absolutely unacceptable.

maja wrote:I know I'll sound like a heartless cynic,

You sound misinformed rather than cynical. I would go so far as to say you have misunderstood the point entirely so allow me to point out the (many) flaws in that trite you just wrote:

maja wrote:Seriously: she wants to be a political journalist, she comes from Congo, and she didn't realise what was going on there?

Do some research before you shoot your mouth off and end up looking foolish. As it is too late for this, allow me to correct you: people in the Western Congo (the left-hand side of the country) are largely unaware of the sufferings of the East (the right-hand side). With little communications in the DRC (minimal internet, few roads and telephone lines between them ...and if you had actually watched the documentary with even the slightest hint of observation, you would have noticed that I had to fly to Rwanda in order to reach the East side of the country). Allow me to reiterate: this is not the U.S.A. where stuff gets tweeted within moments of things happening. This stuff goes unreported. Did you have any idea the extent of what was going on? Hold your ill-formed judgements on other people when you come across as more clueless as the people you are accusing of being ignorant. It's not becoming and it makes you, aside from many things, a douche.
maja wrote:And it is coltan, not wolfram

It is coltan as well as wolfram. This is why we repeated the term "CONFLICT MINERALS" about, what, 20 times? Did you miss that part? Wolframite, which is the chief ore of tungsten, is used to make the phone vibration. wolframite is pretty much tungsten, seeing as wolfram is the German word for tungsten, and the chemical symbol for tungsten is W. Tungsten is used to make mobile phones vibrate
maja wrote:and it isn't used in bloody mobile phone vibrators either

Yes. Yes it is.
maja wrote:How about a well researched documentary explaining the complex political, economical, cultural etc

How about one? If you're so desperate for one to happen, lobby your local TV station to commission a TV show based on all of these complexities. Let us know when it's green-lit.
maja wrote:Is a slightly voyeuristic reality show really the only way to make people "aware" about the issues?

To tell you the truth, we were just all here sitting saying "man, this is the only way we can raise awareness. There is no other way".
Oh wait: No one said anything of the kind!
maja wrote:I think it is sad that the target audience is assumed to be...

You don't know the target audience.
maja wrote:I get offended by condescending campaigns such as this one.

I question this alleged "offence". What was condescending? It was a documentary about a girl going back to her homeland and finding horror there. Horrors that get ignored by the Western world where she grew up. Please, go and and find another example of where this horror is explored. Oh right, you can't, because it doesn't get reported.

And just coming from a broadcast angle, nothing can be shown on TV without it first being cleared with a)legal and b) the research department. So anything we put out, anything I wrote, was backed up by everyone from Alan Doss (head of MONUC, the UN peacekeeping force out there who was staying in the same place as I whilst out in Bukavu) to Bernard, the guide who was with me who not only works for the UN, but has been working in this region and on this topic since his wife was killed before his very eyes.

And finally, harking back to your wish for a documentary talking about the complexity of the issue, I'd love to see you sum up what YOU think they are, seeing as this documentary and my article did nothing for you. Please enlighten me. Seeing as the rest of the world and Congo itself doesn't even know where to start or how to begin to explain all the problems currently facing it, why don't you tell us in less than 60 minutes. I would bet my "iphone carrying, nightclubbing" ass you would fail and fail miserably.
Last edited by casiguapa on Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:02 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:56 pm UTC

maja wrote:Is a slightly voyeuristic reality show really the only way to make people "aware" about the issues? Does it even make them aware in any significant sense of the word?

A: No. But it's one way among many. B: You may want to take that up with the likes of Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Johann Hari Anna Politkovskaya or John Simpson. All of them and more have written and filmed personal journeys as expositions of conflicts and atrocities around the world. I've certainly had my eyes opened to numerous of these horrors by these people, and now by casi.

maja wrote:I watched it on the recommendation of xkcd people, that's what made me actually approach it with certain standards and expectations in mind.
You're a fucking moron if you think something being posted here implies some level of intellectual rigour or "seriousness". Making that your standard of whether a film is worthwhile is high-handed and arrogant in the extreme. As you clearly don't realise this, I'd say you have a lot to learn about where and by what you can be informed about world issues.

I also think that if you don't understand how making a human connection between twenty-something Western Londoners and the conflict in Eastern DRC helps, you are no judge of worthiness in current affairs programming.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby maja » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

wow, name calling! nice touch, really, I don't think I would have understood the point you're trying to make otherwise.

look, clearly this is an emotional and for you (casiguapa) also a personal issue. i thought i was being clear in not disparaging the issue. i'm not sure what gave the impression that i was ignorant of the issues, my point was that i didn't learn anything new.

of course it's underreported, most reporting is completely disproportionate to what a rational moral person would consider important. but to call it unreported? I don't know, I remember reading about it at least 5 years back. the mining issues even 10 years or more, but I believe the focus then was not so much on violence against women. i assumed (wrongly as it turns out) that the extent of rape going on was common knowledge.

west/east congo (I'll skip the left/right pedantry) i believe you. again, i don't find it surprising. you make the point of the importance of radio, again, not surprising at all if you know anything about central africa. but i thought you were trying to raise awareness in the west(ern world), not in western congo? so that's really beside the point.

as far as the tungsten/coltan thing is concerned - i'm no engineer, so someone should correct me. from what i understand coltan is quite indispensable in all manner of circuitry. fair enough then to mention blackberries and laptops. but tungsten is used in light bulbs! i don't know about mobile phone vibrators, i haven't been able to find a source to tell me what most vibrators are made from, but i doubt it is (mainly) tungsten. there are many other materials that would work just as well. not so much light bulbs (not the energy saving ones obviously), but you get my point. singling out mobile phone vibrators as being in any way culpable to me sounds simply tendentious.

so i'm sticking with what i said originally. this film did not uncover anything new. Dream, you're absolutely right, shame on me for expecting it to. but referring to this film in the same sentence that refers to the works of Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Johann Hari, Anna Politkovskaya or John Simpson, seriously? and of course I understand "how making a human connection between twenty-something .. helps" but that was my point, i think it is sad.

i'm thinking of the amount of work and preparation, and contacts and everything that went into this film went to waste if this is all it produced. so this, casiguapa, this is by lobbying call. you're a documentary film maker, you have access, you clearly have more understanding of the issues than most of us. you can't think this is the best documentary that could have been made.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Decker » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

I didn't get a chance to see the documentary, but just from reading this thread I learned things I didn't know before. Just because these are things YOU knew about already dosn't make it worthless. The world does not revolve around you.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

maja wrote:clearly this is an emotional and for you (casiguapa) also a personal issue.

You noticed that a film about a person's first reunion with her family after two decades, and detailing her experiences with victims of systematic rape is emotional and personal for her. You genius.

maja wrote:Dream, you're absolutely right, shame on me for expecting it to.

Yes, shame on you. Lots of people come here thinking xkcd=smart. They almost always turn out to be fools. You are no exception. Backtracking now does not change that.

maja wrote:but referring to this film in the same sentence that refers to the works of Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Johann Hari, Anna Politkovskaya or John Simpson, seriously?

Yes, absolutely and 100%. I suggest you go and read the series of columns by Fisk in the Independent entitled "Robert Fisk's World", and tell me you don't come out of it enlightened and educated. It's just yarns and stories, and the occasional anecdote. Then tell me that an atrocity victim telling their story to Fisk is somehow different to one telling it to Judith Wanga, and I'll call you a moron again. I said these people have used the same technique as casi's film does, which disproves your assertion that personal "reality" documentary is not a suitable vehicle for raising awareness of serious international issues. I did not say that "The Most Dangerous Place In The World For Women" is the equal of "The Great War For Civilisation".

maja wrote:you clearly have more understanding of the issues than most of us.

That is the only sensible thing you've posted here. Think about it very hard, and ask yourself if casi and the fucking BBC need your advice on how to make a documentary of any kind, let alone one about the DRC.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

maja wrote:... patronising, simplistic, weepy ... culturally naive ... Where do you people live? OK, forget that, where does this girl live? Seriously: she wants to be a political journalist, she comes from Congo, and she didn't realise what was going on there? ... sad ... daft ... twenty-something nightclubbing iphone carrier...

maja wrote:wow, name calling! nice touch, really, I don't think I would have understood the point you're trying to make otherwise.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Weeks » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:03 pm UTC

Well isn't this lovely.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Amie » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

I... I don't think I've felt this helpless in ages. I missed the documentary too. I've never heard about this either. I did a search using the keywords 'Congo Mineral Conflict' and filtered the pages from my country. The last 'report' (a snippet really) from a credible newspaper was back in 2004. This is so utterly shocking. We've been cut out from events of such massive graveness. I'm too shocked right now.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby felltir » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:02 pm UTC

I, as a high-school student, am only just starting in the last few years to be politically active. It is people like Casi that I look up to. People who can see a problem, see something they can do about it, and follow through. I am very proud to know her. I got a lot of my friends to watch it too, and it made them think as well. And I believe that if a documentary can make a group of 17 and 18 year olds genuinely think about a political documentary, and want to get involved (not just in this issue, but in general) then it is worthwhile. Because I sincerely doubt (and from in thread posts, I know I am correct) that we were the only people who gained something from it.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Furan » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

Sure this is a horrible truth. But blaming the consumer? Sure we want cheap laptops and phones and that but when did a sales person come round to my house and ask me If I would like 2/400 pound off my laptop where all I had to do was let a few hundred, maybe thousand women get raped? Cause I don't remember that.

Would you like to know who is at fault here? The congo militia and the rapists. Do not pass the blame onto us to gather more fight for the cause. And sure companies could of used different mines but then the question is, why is that mine different? Because the people around it are stable.

And yes I would like to stand up and do something about this. But I will not have it thought that we only stand as a group because we are who the blame was passed onto. I know you said we are inwilling they part of it, which is true but it doesn't give the right to then blame us.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby sophyturtle » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Who is blaming you? People are just saying 'look at this. It is horrible. And you benefit from it. Think about that.'

And you know, see if you can spend your money ethically.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:26 pm UTC

Furan wrote:why is that mine different? Because the people around it are stable.

Why does the chain of responsibility stop there? Instability didn't occur in the DRC by magic. It's your responsibility to avoid rewarding companies that exploit the situation, further destabilising it. Try this press release from the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition.
PR_Extractives_Nov_Meeting_FINAL.pdf
(72.09 KiB) Downloaded 76 times

Ask electronics companies if they're members of the Coalition, and if they attended the meetings. Ask them what they're dong to ensure that the work of the Coalition is more than window dressing. You might not be to blame for individual instances of rape, but that doesn't absolve you of responsibility for the situation. We're all responsible together, but some of us are conscientious and ethical, and some are not. Some are part of the problem, and some are actively trying to solve it. Which camp do you want to line up with? Because that choice is about you, not about rapists in Africa.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby maja » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:14 am UTC

i don't see why this film is beyond reproach? i'm not backtracking on anything, i said as much in my first post, am i really such a moron to expect that it should be possible to critique such a film in this forum? that people would not react in such a personal and even dogmatic way?

i don't see how calling a film simplistic or my understanding of the reasons that brought it about as sad can in any way be constituted as name calling? as opposed to "fuck you you douche"? (at least one expletive has been edited out of casi's original post) i'm a genius for noticing her story is personal? i was only trying to understand why she cannot react to my comments objectively. silly me trying to offer her an excuse.

i think its great that felltir and her 17 and 18 year old friends got food for thought. i think it would be even better if they were able to critically engage with the media content and form they are exposed to.

how does explicitly stating you agree with the cause but find serious faults with the execution make me the offensive one? i think it is a bad film. not because it is personal, but because the personal journey part of it is completely superfluous. i use the word documentary in quotes intentionally. it's a shame people's energy is not channelled to better quality work. it's a shame some people so easily succumb to the pressures of broadcaster's requirements for instant spectacle, dumbed down to a level that is absolutely shameful for the bbc.

i can't see how thinking this film is "as good as it gets" is anything but arrogant. even making it sound like "this is what we went in for" is blatantly not true. i can make a pretty good guess at the type of material that was edited out of the film because if was, i don't know, judged as too offensive. or just didn't fit with the mood they were going for. how about you tell us about that, about the pressures from the bbc, or the producers or whatever, who decide the tone, who decide how far it will go. no documentary is a statement of fact, anyone who thinks so is naive. if you think so about this film you are even more naive. and to claim so as the film maker, well if it isn't arrogance, then it's just lying to yourself.

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:22 am UTC

Haha, dismissing the other side with "They're not being objective, they're too emotional"? Hah. Maja is a troll, best to not feed it.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby phillipsjk » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:58 am UTC

When I am buying electronic components, I am not aware of what goes in them, never mind where that raw material comes from or how it is extracted. A far as I know, a lot of it is trade-secret (Aside from the obvious like copper wire and (nickel or) tin plating).

I find it distressing because I would like to be able to produce a list of "Ingredients" for any electronics I build. The best I can give is a parts list.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby felltir » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:30 am UTC

maja wrote:i think its great that felltir and her 17 and 18 year old friends got food for thought. i think it would be even better if they were able to critically engage with the media content and form they are exposed to.

how does explicitly stating you agree with the cause but find serious faults with the execution make me the offensive one? i think it is a bad film. not because it is personal, but because the personal journey part of it is completely superfluous. i use the word documentary in quotes intentionally. it's a shame people's energy is not channelled to better quality work. it's a shame some people so easily succumb to the pressures of broadcaster's requirements for instant spectacle, dumbed down to a level that is absolutely shameful for the bbc.

i can't see how thinking this film is "as good as it gets" is anything but arrogant. even making it sound like "this is what we went in for" is blatantly not true. i can make a pretty good guess at the type of material that was edited out of the film because if was, i don't know, judged as too offensive. or just didn't fit with the mood they were going for. how about you tell us about that, about the pressures from the bbc, or the producers or whatever, who decide the tone, who decide how far it will go. no documentary is a statement of fact, anyone who thinks so is naive. if you think so about this film you are even more naive. and to claim so as the film maker, well if it isn't arrogance, then it's just lying to yourself.


For a start I, and all but 1 of my friends who (to my knowledge) watched it are guys. And I am entirely capable of critically engaging with it. Isn't it possible that I simply disagree with you? That perhaps, I feel that this was a good way to open people's eyes? Sadly, a lot of people find it hard to relate to people of other nations who have radically different lives. So perhaps relating the difference between the night life here, and there, is a was to get people to connect to the women of the country, and begin to sympathise.

And then, once people have connected, the film can show them some of the real hardships the people of the country (different part, yes, but still) have to go through. And because the viewer can now sympathise easier on a personal level with the women in the documentary, this is much harder hitting than simply jumping straight in there. I personally find that with documentaries with no human element, I find it hard to relate to the issues unless they are issues I have experienced myself, to one degree or another. Now perhaps this makes me a flawed person, but I suspect there are many people who have similar difficulties. And a documentary like this one is a good way to get past that. I use the word documentary out of quotes because that's what this is. It documents Casi's travel to her birthplace, some of her personal life, her meeting her family, and her experiences and emotions when it turns out not to be as idyllic as she'd imagined. I don't think I'm being naive here, and if I am, please, show me how.

I certainly agree that this film is not "as good as it gets". I do however, think it is "good". I know that Casi cares about this issue (if she didn't, why would she bother making this film, or publicising it so heavily?) and that she will have done everything she can to make the most influencial documentary that she, working with the BBC, is able to make. Whether she wants to tell us what was cut, if indeed anything important was (which we do not know for certain, although given the timescale it is likely) is down to her. I wasn't there. I didn't see it. She did. And that, in my eyes, makes her the best judge I have of what's going on there because, as stated by a lot of people, noone else is reporting this.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Dream » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:58 am UTC

maja wrote:how does explicitly stating you agree with the cause but find serious faults with the execution make me the offensive one?

You objections are based on your contention that your idea of a more serious documentary is what should have been made. While being so condescending as to tell someone who visited the country and made a film there how she should have done it, you accused that film of being condescending. The world does not revolve around you and your standards, and acting as though it does, while accusing others of being emotional (as if that is a bad thing in this situation) offends me.

I'm going to explain this one last time, and if you don't get it, I just don't care anymore: There are millions of people in the UK who will watch and be informed by this documentary. Many of those, perhaps also in the millions, would not watch a more rigourous documentary. What this means is that your contention that this film should have been made differently is bullshit, and amounts to you telling the audience you know what's good for them. If you disagree with this, I'd say you also think Michael Buerk should have shown us all a slide show of statistics, and not tearjerking starving children. Because empathy never got anyone to do anything.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Decker » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:02 pm UTC

maja wrote:how does explicitly stating you agree with the cause but find serious faults with the execution make me the offensive one? i think it is a bad film. not because it is personal, but because the personal journey part of it is completely superfluous. i use the word documentary in quotes intentionally.

You don't see how it would be easier to empathise with someone when we see that these are indeed real people and not just some problem that's happening far away that we don't have to think about? You would rather a clinical, sanitary, and scientific overview about horrible things that happen to other people?

i can't see how thinking this film is "as good as it gets" is anything but arrogant. even making it sound like "this is what we went in for" is blatantly not true. i can make a pretty good guess at the type of material that was edited out of the film because if was, i don't know, judged as too offensive. or just didn't fit with the mood they were going for. how about you tell us about that, about the pressures from the bbc, or the producers or whatever, who decide the tone, who decide how far it will go. no documentary is a statement of fact, anyone who thinks so is naive. if you think so about this film you are even more naive. and to claim so as the film maker, well if it isn't arrogance, then it's just lying to yourself.

Who said the film is as good as it gets? Nobody was trying to go for an oscar winning "Planet Earth" type five years in the making production. It was someone's story. And really, you can guess what was cut out of the documentary. I didn't see it and I find this hard to belive.
From the second half of your quote it looks like you don't have a problem with this documentary, but with documentaries period. If that's the case, why are you in here raging about this one in particular?
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Leshrac » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:23 pm UTC

Is there any way to see this documentary from outside the UK?

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Amie » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

Leshrac wrote:Is there any way to see this documentary from outside the UK?

Just google 'The most dangerous place in the world for women'. There's a torrent available.
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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby DanTan » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

You guys are missing the point of the article! This article isn't about the women, but rather its drawing attention to the war that's been raging down there.

Don't get me wrong, I feel bad for the women, but... the simple truth is that it's nothing unique... This is NOT a result of Congo itself and/or its resources, but rather its a result the war/conflict.

Telling people to not purchase stuff from Congo to cut the demand hasn't really worked to date. Look at the diamond market coming from there. Conflict Diamonds) are supposed to be embargoed, but it still continues.

This stuff will continue until the war settles down and based off history... its going to go until they start realizing just how many lives have been wasted in their "conflict".

(Sorry to be such a pessimist)

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby maja » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:50 pm UTC

i never said being emotional was bad. or personal even. i only mentioned it to the extent that if it leads to spewing insults it is clearly not helpful.

i don't know what gave the impression that i'm not touched, heart-broken even by what is going on there?

is hearing a story about a woman being horribly raped, tortured, repeatedly even, not enough? not enough to make you feel empathy, to make you sick to your stomach? would felltir and his (sorry!) friends not have been able to connect to that story? not understand that they are real people? not be able to sympathise with it on a personal level?

apparently not. apparently they need to first connect to "those people" via the universal medium of nightclubbing. apparently they have to connect to casi first, then see her cry and be sick, and then by this proxy understand that this is what they should be feeling as well.

are you sure about that? because i would hope not! that's what i find condescending.

i never claimed (nor could i even begin to imagine how it would be possible) that this should be a clinical and sanitary overview. (scientific is not a bad word though, but lets not get into it). i totally agree with using personal stories to get the point across. so you've only got 60 minutes, have you? sure you couldn't use them better? will including footage of casi's packing make more people relate to what she is about to hear? oh, she can't live without here hair straightener, like me! let's see what she has to say! yes, i think that is condescending. am i offending you by suggesting that you would have been able to understand the issues without this? that you would have been able to empathise with what is going on there?

you are absolutely right here felltir:
Felltir wrote:It documents Casi's travel to her birthplace, some of her personal life, her meeting her family, and her experiences and emotions when it turns out not to be as idyllic as she'd imagined.


that is what this film is about. now re-read the first post. see the difference?

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Re: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Women

Postby Hawknc » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

DanTan wrote:ou guys are missing the point of the article! This article isn't about the women, but rather its drawing attention to the war that's been raging down there.

...The article is called "Why Congo is the world's most dangerous place for women". While the wider conflict is intrinsically linked to the issue, the article is very specifically about its impact on women in Eastern Congo.

DanTan wrote:This is NOT a result of Congo itself and/or its resources, but rather its a result the war/conflict.

The war is exacerbated by the fight for resources in the Congo. You can't separate the two.

DanTan wrote:Telling people to not purchase stuff from Congo to cut the demand hasn't really worked to date. Look at the diamond market coming from there. Conflict Diamonds) are supposed to be embargoed, but it still continues.

Which is also why I don't buy diamonds. Most people don't give a damn where their products come from or how they're made; but for the people who do, it's important.

maja wrote:yes, i think that is condescending. am i offending you by suggesting that you would have been able to understand the issues without this? that you would have been able to empathise with what is going on there?

I'm going to split with Dream and say the average xkcd reader is probably slightly over the average intelligence, so yes, you could probably connect with the issue with just an explanation of the issues. While casi can explain far better than me why they did the documentary the way they did, at a guess I would say the personal story helps the viewer connect to the issue through a main character. None of us find it condescending - people connect best on an individual level.


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