Humans have an enormous capacity for greed and violence. But also a capacity for love.
Last week Linda and I went to see ‘Black Panther’. It was, like ‘Wonder Woman’, refreshing. Refreshing because of the historical setting of ‘Wonder Woman’, World War I, and the ancient African imperial culture in ‘Black Panther’, but also because it showcased a female and a black superhero, respectively. Interestingly, I appreciated its relevance to my book, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’.
‘Wonder Woman’s’ connection was pretty obvious, given my own emphasis on female characters with both special powers and ‘grit’. But ‘Black Panther’? It turns out that a deep subtext in that movie was the ethical dilemma of Wakanda, a nation possessed of a priceless resource, the metal Vibranium. Its uses ranged from military to medical and made Wakanda the world’s most advanced nation. But Wakanda was not interested in sharing its secret.
Withholding such technology presented the ethical dilemma. Sharing it would prove of enormous benefit to the planet, especially those individuals and countries that were disadvantaged. But it would also make Wakanda an object of envy and a target. The Wakandans rationalized the hoarding of Vibranium technology as necessary, so it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands and prove more destructive than constructive.
Well, I’ll let it go there because ‘no spoilers here’.
But the parallel with TGFI is striking, on a moral level. The North, represented by the developed countries, gets the very short end of a very sharp stick when ecological catastrophe strikes. And the tables of power are turned. The North desperately needs the resources of the Southern Hemisphere, primarily commodities like fuel and foodstuffs. And the South needs the North’s tech. But old resentments die hard and what should be an easy deal becomes a war.
Maybe the Wakandans were right after all.
The evils of sharing may supersede the benefits. Humans have an enormous capacity for greed and violence. But also a capacity for love. So which will dominate the action, in the ‘Ur Legend’ and ‘Black Panther’? Read Book 3, coming later this year, ‘Kutusov’s Dream’ and by all means catch the sequel to ‘Black Panther’!