Sunday, May 14, 2006

The TEARS OF THE SUN mentality

Hello my blog readers!

My friend Kristie made a good point the other day, about how when people are helping other people from another culture; they think they’re doing the right thing, that their behavior and thinking is pure. But when someone from the culture that the cared for person comes tells the caretaker that hte caretaker is being racist, the caretaker doesn’t believe that.

I say that when the image of what I know the image of the Continental African to be, doesn’t match the image that non-Continental Africans have of what a Continental African should be in their mind, that person will tell me that the Continental Africans that I present aren’t realistic.

Its like a person saying they aren’t racist towards a group of people because they have friends from that group of people. The non-Mexican will say, “I’m not racist against Mexican people. I have Mexicans friends.” The non-Mexican that said that sees the statement one way, the Mexican hearing it sees that statement in a different light.

Their line of thinking is a mixture of prejudice and racism. It’s what I call the TEARS OF THE SUN SYNDROME”. People, you know me, I'm oing to mention names.

In that movie, the white female doctor that is being rescued never referred to the “Nigerian” refugees as Nigerians, or whatever ethnic group they came from, no, the white doctor kept referring to her patients as “My People.” That’s a colonial statement. Thankfully, one of the black Special Forces said to Bruce Willis, “these are my people too.” That’s a strong positive statement. That’s not colonial.

The reason we weren’t able to option the Rwandan Hutu Refugee Book was because the people we were dealing with weren’t honest with us, and they were of the colonial mind, especially the guy who I thought was sincere, Ivan Godfried. After several rounds of mis-communications, when Ivan and I finally spoke on the phone I felt that we had had a great conversation. I felt that the deal should be closed sometime soon. It would turn out people that I was wrong.

You see, I sent Ivan the Once Upon A Time In The Congo screenplay to let him know how deep that I wanted to do the Rwandan Hutu refugee book. Instead, he wrote me back saying that my portrayal of the Congolese, Rwandans, Burundians, wasn’t realistic. That I was presenting a negative image of the Rwandans, that I made false accusations against the UN and whatnot. He said that I didn’t know anything about DRCongo and that I was going to “Hollywoodize” the Rwandan Refugee Book. I was stunned. Ivan didn’t even bother to ask me any questions, nor even make suggestions about the project.

The sad thing people, is that my team and I constantly said that we wanted to produce Ivans client, Beatrice book, the way it was written. We weren’t going to change anything.

Mind you, everything that I wrote regarding Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, what-have-you, was based on fact, and that the fictional aspect was for the Western audience to better understand the story..

Ivan was being a racist, and the author of the book, Beatrice, trusted Ivan and later I would find out, a translator named Julia Emerson, to represent her. I’m not saying Ivan is a rasicet, I odn’t know him to say that.

I will say that he was racist in his criticism, he sounded like the Belgians that colonized Congo. He may not see it that way because the Africans like Beatrice allow him to act that way since they may not know better. He had the TEARS OF THE SUN mentality.

Later, the translator of the book, Julia Emerson, revealed that she was secretly involved in the negotiations, even though mind you she was only the translator on the book. She sends me an email lecturing me about Africa, and blah, blah, blah. That I wanted to use the book as a vehicle for myself. That the book “is a discussion piece.”

That’s not what Julia said when I spoke to her on the phone; she said that “the truth needs to come out.” Mind you, when Julia and I first spoke 4 months ago, I sent her the Congo script and for the 4 months since she received the script, she never said anything. Now Julia has an opinion because she didn’t like what I wrote back to Ivan and everyone else he included in his hostile email when he said they didn’t want to do business with us.

She has the TEARS OF THE SUN mentality. They think they were doing Beatrice (the writer) a favor, but in the end they did her a great disservice. Beatrice is like a lot of people who puts their trust in people instead fo first speaking for themselves.

So the issue of trying to obtain Beatrice’s Rwanda Hutu Refugee book is over. My team wasted a lot of time with Ivan and his people like Julia. They weren’t honest. The Congo script is an orange, Beatrice’ book is an apple, but Ivan shredded the Congo script thinking that we were going to do Beatrice book like the Congo script.

We asked for a teleconference with Beatrice more than once, Ivan didn’t want to do that. Ivan and his team felt it was easier to reside in their world of assumptions and prejudice, they found it easier to make judgments about me when they don’t know anything about me. They didn’t even to make the effort, and in my life when someone doesn’t want to know you, they don’t respect you. Ivan and is people didn’t respect us, so it’s good that the negotiations came to an end. Remember folks, I had walked away from this deal twice and it was Ivan that came to us wanting to make the deal happen.

Then Ivan turns around and attacks us, attacks my Congo script, makes racist comments, then his silent partner Julia comes out of the closet to give her negative opinion and not once did they make an effort to know me, ask me questions to see how I wanted to do the project.

I know that this is a blessing in disguise. Ivan Godfired and Julia Emerson prevented a great story from being told. Beatrice let it happen since Ivan and Julia represent her, so Beatrice has to shoulder much of the blame.

We did our part in good faith. They didn’t.

I was disappointed, but these are the kind of things, these are the kind of people that make producing films so difficult.

But let me tell you what I told them; I don’t need the book to tell the story. One million Rwandan Hutu refugees fled into Congo in 1996, I can find one of them to make their story into a film.

Talk to you guys later!

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