Putting rights issues through the looking glass. Not seeking answers, just some food for thought to see whether things could be any different!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Arrogance redefined!!

Read an interesting article which coined the term "celebrity colonialism" to typify the behaviourial pattern that was represented by "Brangelina" when they chose Namibia as the location to give birth to their first child.

Why Namibia?? Well, according to Angelina Jolie, Africa is the cradle of civilisation and there was no better location that she could think of than Namibia to deliver her baby.

At the first look, all this sounds so harmless. She could have given birth in space or underwater for all I care. But debunking reveals that all this is much more complex and not naive, in the least.

The real reason was of course, that the couple wanted a safe haven away from all the media attention. But when a celebrity declares that they are going to X place and do not want to be disturbed, does that deter the paparazzi??

Yes, the paparazzi followed them to exotic Africa, because it is accessible after all, a realisation that dawned on the couple much later. But it was too late for them to leave Namibia because they had decided what they had decided. So, they decided to stay on....
Shouldn't the people of Namibia be grateful as a white celebrity couple chose their country as "the" place to give birth to their child? So what, if this inconveniences them a little, it is too little a price to pay for all the media spotlight their country has hogged as a result?

So deep was the sense of gratitude of the Namibian government towards the couple that the Prime Minister beefed up the security around the resort where they were staying and declared it a paparazzi free zone much like a violence free zone! The Namibian Embassy in South Africa allowed only those journalists visas into Namibia who were pre approved by the couple. Just imagine the level of disregard for due process that allows two individuals to decide the fate of people living there or wanting entry into the state. This is anarchy at its worst. If this is not luxury, what is??
How many Namibians even know of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? What right do they have to grab a share of their resources and disrupt their normal lives just to enjoy the moment of childbirth? What free country stoops so low as to compromise on their sovereignty of their state to satisfy the desire of an arrogant couple for absolute privacy? This situation is only comparable to that of a brat of a child whose most ridiculous demands are met by over indulgent parents!
This behaviour not only represents celebrity arrogance at its very worst but emphasises the almost slave like mentality that underlines the manner in which most erstwhile colonies interact with their once colonisers, not only in political circles but in insignificant situations like these.
Important to note, Angelina Jolie is goodwill ambassador to the UNHCR. It can be assumed that having travelled around the world and being fairly intelligent, she would have been more sensitive to the situation in underdeveloped countries and their severe resource crunch. However, she proved otherwise by this act of hers and may we say that she is as much celebrity as any other. Sections of the media have referred to them as "colonial overlords" and are they wrong??
Angelina wants to adopt again.. Speculations are on as to which country it will be this time after Cambodia and Ethiopia! What are the odds that it will be an African/Asian country?
This incident has inspired Britney Spears to follow the same path..she wants to deliver her second child in Africa. Dude, whats wrong with giving birth in the States? They have the best hospitals and natal care facilities and if not, take your medical team and escape into the US countryside! Afterall, all you want is a healthy baby!
The child, Shiloh Nouvel, born amidst all this controversy will have at least one quality that she will not naturally inherit from her parents, HUMILITY!! She will have to work really hard on that one!! Poor girl!
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