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Beyond Borders

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Submitted By lisaeichholz0129
Words 948
Pages 4
Lisa Eichholz
Dr. Hilary Harris
English 096-10
November 10, 2011
Beyond Borders
Recently there has been a dramatic increase of refugees, estimating 11 million today which is up from the 3 million that was recorded in the mid-1970s (UNHCR.com). Founded in 1919, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is now the largest humanitarian organization. In 1965 the IFRC proclaimed the Seven Fundamental Principles of Humanitarianism. The principle of humanity, the principle of impartiality, the principle of neutrality, the principle of independence , the principle of voluntary, the principle of Unity, and lastly the principle of Universality. The film Beyond Borders follows Sarah Bauford (Angelina Jolie), Nick Callahan (Clive Owen), and a small group of aid relief volunteers working throughout a few of the world’s most volatile areas. This films greatest lesson is showing the existing needs of many people and how there are few who are there to help and trying to make a difference. This film exemplifies the most important of the principles of humanitarianism in a very complex way.
In the film many of the characters exemplify the principle of humanity in both positive and negative ways. The principle states that the movements goal is to “prevent and alleviate human suffering” by promoting “understanding, friendship, cooperation, and lasting peace.” At the beginning of the film Nick Callahan storms into the aid relief international’s black and white ball, and although he is attempting to plead with the people to try to help prevent and alleviate the ongoing human suffering in Ethiopia, he goes about it in a very negative way. While berating the people at the ball he destroyed any mutual understanding between them and he creates human suffering by putting Jojo (Keelan Anthony) in conditions he is not use to and cannot survive in. After seeing Nicks plea Sarah Bauford quits her job at an art gallery and puts all her money towards going to Ethiopia to help. While driving to the camp Sarah sees a young child on the side of the road and makes the truck driver stop to pick him and his wounded mother up. She pleads with Nick to help them even though he tells her it is too late to save them. Four years later while in Cambodia Elliot Hauser (Noah Emmerich) puts himself in harm’s way to prevent a baby from suffering after a member of the Khmer Rouge puts a grenade in the baby’s hands.
This film talks about the principle of voluntary service in very complex ways. The Movement, as stated in the principle of voluntary Service is based on a voluntary relief effort and is “not prompted by any gain.” When Sarah puts all of her money towards going to Ethiopia she is not prompted by gain but only to help the people in need. Elliot talks about using all of his trust fund to help get food and supplies for the refugees while in Ethiopia. He also works to help all the people in both Ethiopia and Cambodia. Throughout the whole film there are several different members of the society that work to help without any financial gain to themselves. On the negative end of the principle Nick tries to bring guns into Cambodia for money. Although he plans to use that money towards the need of the people he also puts them in danger.
The principle of Impartiality is shown throughout the film in many different ways. Impartiality points out that the Movement will help individuals “guided solely by their needs” discriminating only by those with the most urgent need. In Ethiopia after Sarah picks up the young boy and his mother she pleads with Nick to help them. Even though they are the most in need of help at the time Nick refuses to help them saying it is too late for them. Although he is trying to save the limited supplies that are available by not helping them, he is negatively showing impartiality. When they are all in Cambodia they decide to stay to give immunizations to the people in need even though they know the Khmer Rouge will be coming after them for not bringing them the guns and records that they paid Nick to bring to them. This shows the principle in a positive way because they are helping the people who are in need before helping themselves.
These principles are important to society in many different ways. By using the principles the society can work in hostile areas that most people can’t even get into. While in those places they are able to help the people that are most in need. It also tries to raise awareness of the many problems to try to find both more and better help. It can also cause harm to people if the principles are used in a very negative way. If society turned against these principles many people would suffer because the means to survive are not there. What would happen to the American society if the issues that these other countries are going through happened here? Many people take for granted what is available and think that what is happening half way across the world will never affect life in the United States. If the principles were not set up and the movement did not help those people, who would be there to help when the people of America need help?

Work Cited
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home
Beyond Borders, Dir. Martin Campbell, Actors Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Paramount, 2004 DVD.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, http://www.ifrc.org/

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