Avatar is a fictional film produced in America in 2009 by James Cameron and starring Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Lang, and Sigourney Weaver (French). It is about the human colonization of Pandora, a fictional land in the star system inhabited by ape-like beings called Na’vi. The environment of the place is not suitable for human life, and the interest of the colonialists was only mining mineral deposits of unobtanium. The film is significant as it depicts things that happen in the real human societies such as the scramble for Africa by the European powers that implied the invasion, occupation, colonization, and annexation of territories (Chamberlain). Avatar thus reflects on the real life situations in a number of ways.
The Comparison of the Fictional Treatment of Na’vi to Real Life Cases
The native inhabitants of Pandora lived in a wilderness setting, and they coexisted with their ecosystem that included a dense forest (Horwitz). The colonialists from the Earth land there with the interests of mining the unobtanium minerals, and this threatens the forest as well as the indigenous population. Just like in the film, the European powers such as Britain, Portugal, Spain, and France among others invaded Africa and destroyed forests to pave the way for mining of minerals such as copper, construction of roads and farming among other uses (Shillington).
In Avatar, the colonizers send spies to gather information about the “Hometree,” a sacred place where the Na’vis used to pray, after discovering the possibility of the presence of mineral deposits under the tree. They later send a bulldozer to destroy the shrine and pave the way for mining (Cameron). The European colonial masters also destroyed African forests and shrines in a bid to exploit the resources of their interest (Chamberlain).
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The humans forcefully evict the Na’vis from their lands doing this is through bloodshed that led to deaths of the locals and some of their leaders. They also disregard the Na’vi’s deity by destroying the shrines and trying to change their wilderness culture and life (Cameron). However, the Na’vis begin to resists the human oppression, and they wage rebellions that lead to the expulsion of people from Pandora. In Africa, the European colonial masters forcefully ejected native inhabitants from their lands and confined them in reserves. They also disregarded the native religion and tried to introduce Christianity (Shillington).
In the film, the humans had no intentions of settlement and thus they were just interested in destroying the forests and mining the unobtanium minerals (Cameron). European colonialists in Africa, in their turn, had the intentions of displacing the natives and settling on their lands for large scale farming. These distinctions clearly differentiate the interests of the invading parties in both instances.
On the one hand, in Avatar, the invasion of Pandora was purely economic because the human had the interests of mining the unobtanium minerals (Cameron). The European invasion of Africa, on the other hand, was a combination of both the economic and political purposes. Apart from mining and farming, the powers were interested in establishing the direct rule, annexing territories, and obtaining fighters to support their armies during the world wars (Chamberlain). The invasion also fuelled slave trade that saw the capturing and transportation of Africans to foreign continents as slave workers.
Security contractors work under the incentive of making profit, and they have no moral obligation to the civilians. Due to the greed for money, they tend to promote a culture of violence as opposed to the official government militaries that work to promote peace, and they have a duty of serving the nationals in their given jurisdiction (Gomez del Prado). Unlike the military officers, private security guards work under little or no oversight and thus they tend to violate the rights of the civilians to maximize their profit gains. It was very unethical for the guards in the Avatar film to open fire on Jake and Grace, and that shows how the private officers disregard the lives of their comrades (Cameron). The private guards also tend to use excessive force against non-combatants, and this may involve indiscriminative shootings. For instance, in the Avatar film, the Resource Development authority’s private security officers killed the non-combatant Na’vis in a bid to expel them from their shrines (Cameron). Military officers, in their turn, work under regulations and thus they rarely violate the rights of civilians due to strict oversight (Gomez del Prado,). Private security guards, on the one hand, operate using unidentified vehicles, and this makes it easy for them to engage in misconduct. On the other hand, the military has branded vehicles that are easy to be identified (Gomez del Prado).
The governments of various jurisdictions need to regulate the private security firms to prevent them from engaging in crime as well as violating the rights of civilians in their areas of assignments (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). There is the need for oversight to hold the officers accountable for their actions and this could assist in taming them. Regulations are also necessary to limit the number of private security companies because their aim is not serving the public but to maximize their profits while disregarding the civilian rights (Gomez del Prado). According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, regulations are inevitable to prevent the possibility of corruption amongst the private security officers as well as their companies.
Cameron’s Message on Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Greed
Cameron uses the film to blame business organizations for the wanton destruction of the environment as well as the depletion of natural resources. He demonstrates a scenario in 2154 when there is an energy problem due to the exhaustion of natural resources, and this might compel the scientist to try other options, for instance, the metaphor of human beings mining unobtanium in the Pandora space that is beyond the planet earth (Horwitz). The resistance by the natives as well as the final expulsion of the human from the planet shows that most options in the projected time will not be fruitful, and this might lead to the collapse of all industries. The film is, therefore, an eye opener to corporations to be mindful of the future when they exploit the natural resources.
In the movie, the invasion and the attempts to mine unobtanium on the Pandora planet threaten the forests and the lives of the natives and thus the indigenous population resists the move (Horwitz). Cameron tries to explain that the greed for resources diminishes people and has the potential to lead the investors outside the planet of Earth. The fictitious conflict between the Resources Development Authority and the Pandora is an imagery of what happens to business organizations and their host communities. In extreme situations, people directly attack the businesses or launch demonstrations against the same organizations to expel them from their land.
Cameron also intended to pass the message that corporations should respect the culture of the natives of their areas of operation. The Resources Development Authority destroys the Pandora forests that houses the Na’vis shrines and this is a total disregard of the hosts’ culture, religion and their deity (Horwitz). The result is the rebellion war that leads to mysterious intervention of wild animals for the Na’vis, and this forces the human beings out of Pandora. This fictitious image shows that organizations must respect the hosts’ culture for them to succeed in that setting.
Cameron also indirectly speaks about the corporate social responsibility that entails organizational acts of giving back to the societies in their vicinities as a sign of appreciation for their accommodating nature. The Resources Development Authority’s (RDA) action of clearing forests and destroying shrines in Pandora as well as killing the locals represents how the modern business organizations harm the host communities in various ways such as destruction of the environment and the indirect killing of people through air and water pollution among others. Just like the RDA’s expulsion from Pandora, every modern industry that disregards the welfare of the host population is doomed to fail.
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Cameron tries to pass the message that corporate firms are to be blamed for the environmental deterioration as well as the depletion of natural resources. He visualizes an energy problem in 2154 where industries will have all the resources exhausted. He strengthens his argument through the fictitious Pandora example whereby the RDA mining activities threaten the lives of the natives as well as their eco-system. Cameron portrays the arrogance of such organizations through the RDA’s act of using force against the hosts and destroying their shrines. His message is that organizations must reverse the energy use trend as well as the exploitation of the non-fuel resources to save them for the future use.
In conclusion, Avatar is a fiction film but it depicts the immorality that takes place in the real life situations. For instance, the RDA’s greed of mining unobtanium in the Pandora in disregard of the environment and the welfare of the natives represent what modern industries do. The unprofessional behaviour of the security guards in the film is a replica of how modern security guards operate. Avatar bears a warning to the industrialists to take care of the host communities as well as their environment as otherwise, sooner or later, their businesses will collapse.