Thursday, June 26, 2008

Black Gold

I've finally got hold of Black Gold from our DVD rental service and watched it last night. It's a powerful film. The film follows the efforts of Tadesse Meskela as he tries to better the fortunes of his Ethiopian coffee sellers co-operative. Two scenes stood out for me:
  • Tadesse speaks to a group of coffee farmers and explains that the kilo of coffee which they sell for 23 cents is finally sold in the form of cups of coffee in the west for $230. Astounding!
  • The second was for me perhaps the most powerful. A poor unsuspecting (and ignorant) Starbucks employee in Seattle explains how the staff at that Starbucks outlet are 'touching so many lives' as they sell over-the-counter coffees at the store. Cut to the Ethiopian region that supplies Starbucks coffee where malnourished babies are being weighed for emergency treatment. The contrast at this point in the film is truly shocking.
This film succesfully uses the contrast between Western coffee consumers and the Ethiopian coffee farmers to make a powerful point. At one point in the film a worker at Tadesse's co-operative sits at a desk with a poster above her reading: Jesus Will Never Let You Down. I hope that Jesus' people are not letting her down by continuing to buy non-Fair Trade coffee.
Watch the trailer and find out where the money you pay for your coffee goes using the links on the left.