Sunday, October 01, 2006

Romanian miner battles environmentalists

Enviro: Exposing the white liberal guilt stereotype on film.

For the film, Mine Your Own Business, Mr Lucian was taken to other poor countries where mining projects are being blocked by environmentalists. In Madagascar, he could barely disguise his horror as an official of the World Wide Fund for Nature, showed off his £20,000 catamaran before arguing that the poor were just as happy as the rich. The official admitted that residents of Fort Dauphin, where environmentalists are objecting to a mine, were "economically disadvantaged" and many had no jobs. But he insisted: "I could put you with a family and you count how many times in a day that family smiles, if you could measure stress. Then I put you with a family well off, or in New York or London, and you count how many times people smile and measure stress… Then you tell me who is rich and who is poor."
This is where any self-respecting man or woman would turn around and slug the official for being stupid. The comments show the mindset that everyone has their place according to our worldview. Anything from that wrong.
Using a style reminiscent of Michael Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 lampooned the Bush administration, Mr McAleer lured environmentalists into making statements that were false or patently ridiculous. During the hour-long film, Françoise Heidebroek, a Belgian opponent of the Rosia Montana mine, says Romanian villagers prefer to use horses rather than cars, and to rely on "traditional cattle raising, small agriculture, wood processing" to live. Locals retort that their land is too poor for farming, that they all want cars and that they are desperate for the investment the mine would bring. The film had its first screening last week at a conference of gold-mining companies in Denver, Colorado. Alan Hill, president of Gabriel Resources, which did not control the film's content, said: "Before, the environmentalists would lob mortars at us and we would keep our heads down. Now, there is a big push back."

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