Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Poverty is not charming"

Mine Your Own Business is the name a new addition to the blogroll. It is also the name of a movie by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. You can see the trailer here.

Although I haven't seen the movie, the premise is fascinating. Environmentalists want to preserve "the quaint lifestyles" of people living in abject poverty.

Consider this review.
In Mine Your Own Business, Fran├žoise Heidebroek, a Belgian opponent of the Rosia Montana [a Romanian village in the Transylvanian mountains] gold mine, argues that villagers prefer to use horses rather than cars, and prefer to rely on ‘traditional cattle raising, small agriculture, wood processing’ to live.

What she leaves out of her valorisation of village ‘lifestyles’ is the fact that there is 70 per cent unemployment in Rosia Montana, and average income levels are just one-third of the national average. Over one in 10 people survive on the equivalent of 85p per day. Two-thirds of local people have no running water and rely on an outside toilet in winters where the temperature can plummet to minus 25 degrees Celsius. [-13 degrees Fahrenheit] This is rural poverty writ large. Yet for many of those opposing the mine and similar projects, as Mine Your Own Business shows, this ‘lifestyle’ is portrayed as preferable to the life realised from a working mine and billions of dollars of investment in the valley.
How many of those environmentalists live in that kind of place? One of the people opposing these mines (there are 3) has a 35,000 dollar catamaran, and is building a new home - complete with running water.

The three mines and the opposition profiled are in Romania, Madagascar and Chile.

Upcoming dates are here. None in my area, so I may have to resort to buying the DVD.

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