I was a bootlegger in a previous life. By this I mean that when I was sixteen and in lower sixth form I started a school-wide distribution business of bootleg DVDs. Poorly made recordings of new movies were the rage at the time and there was an ample market to duplicate and resell what we acquired. My business expanded and I took the operation outside of the confines of our school and into our community. I reinvested my profits and interesting things happened. I lost money in the end and had to give up the operation for good. Many lessons were learnt. It was with a certain reminiscent satisfaction that I bought a well recorded bootleg copy of Elysium in a Pakistani restaurant from a Chinese woman in East London. I had come a far way.

This blog is not about me or my past or future. I am merely setting the tone for my discussion of the movie Elysium which I saw today. The movie pitted a dying man on earth against an entire system which ruled earth from a space installation called Elysium. On Elysium they had everything, from nice houses to machines which cure cancer. On earth people lived in squalor and worked in de-humanizing conditions. The main character was forced by his boss to put his life at risk or lose his job. The inevitable accident forces the main character to undertake a death march from earth to space to heal himself. The hero has to make a choice; will he save himself and the dying child of his ex-girlfriend or will he swing for a home run and try to open up Elysium to the desperate masses on earth.

The first thing I thought when the movie was presented to me was how well the directors caricatured the first and third world divide, the immigration issue, free healthcare and the gap between the rich and the poor just to name a few themes. Everything was presented in black and white so that neither the extremely intelligent nor the extremely daft could miss their queue as to which side they should be rooting for. However in real life the issues are never as clear cut.

I lived my entire life on Earth; Jamaica for all those who need the analogy spelt out. I have lived my entire adult life so far on Elysium (Europe/Great Britain). From what I have seen so far I can report the following things:

1) In Elysium they do not have everything. No matter how big their houses are they are still in worries over it. Healthcare is free at the point of service but people are still not satisfied.

2) In Elysium people do work in de-humanizing conditions for wages which cannot cover the bare necessities.

3) In the Elysium of the real world there are good people mixed in with the baddies at every level of the social infrastructure i.e. they are not all cold hearted aristocracy as the movie portrays them.

In the patch of the third world where I grew up there was crime but there was also neighbourliness. There was little but there was sharing. Times were hard but we had religion. The “Earth” of the real world is not deprived of everything.

If you wish to give up your lot in Jamaica or any other part of the Caribbean or the developing world then I would advise you not to do so for the following reasons:

1)      Do not come to Britain to eat better food and to party.

2)      Do not come to Britain to work hard and make good money.

3)      Do not come to Britain to buy a house and raise a family

4)      Do not come to Britain because you think Elysium is heaven and your world is hell.

I will tell you why.

1)      The food in Jamaica, or wherever you are from, is better than the food in Britain or wherever you are going to. This is because you are accustomed to the food where you are from and even if your mother could not cook mama’s cooking is still always the best.

2)      You can work hard and make money where you are. You will survive and you can be happy where you are.

3)      A five bedroom house in the countryside in Jamaica is exceedingly better than a two bedroom council house in the city.

4)      Britain is not heaven and Jamaica is not hell

All of that being said there are still reasons to get on a plane to come to Britain if you have legally gained that right by whatever means. If you are still reading this blog up to this point then you probably have what it takes to make it in Britain, perseverance.

Come to Britain if and only if:

1)      You want to make a difference both where you are and where you are going

2)      You have a vision and a plan as to where you want to be in five years

3)      You have the interest of your fellow countrymen where you are leaving at heart

4)      You have the ambition and entrepreneurial drive to dominate your environment

Elysium still has many advantages over “Earth”. It is technologically, financially and culturally superior based on key objective indicators. There are many lessons from the developed world which can only be exported by people from the developing world who have experienced it. Personally I don’t think the people over here know what they have and so they cannot communicate it to us. For this and other reasons we must explore their world and build on the legacy of their and our forefathers.

My name is Peter Campbell, Director of the Caribbean East Atlantic Company, reporting from London United Kingdom. Greetings from Elysium.