As I have
said here before, sometimes you don’t have to write anything. It writes itself.
Take, for example, Disney’s new film in development, “The Princess of North Sudan,”
which as you can surmise from the photo above, might not be quite what you think it is.
The film is
based on a real incident last year, which somehow escaped most of the media, and
us, about this guy in Virginia, Jeremiah Heaton, whose 7 year
old daughter. like many young girls her age. wanted to be a princess.
of doing the usual things, such as buying her princess costumes and toys, and having
princess parties, Heaton wanted to prove that he was the greatest dad of all time, and
he traveled to the African continent to find a territory that he could essentially claim as a kingdom for his daughter.
As he stated on
his Facebook page: "As a father I do my very best to not make empty
promises to my children. At the time I had no idea how I would honor her wish
but I knew that I had to find a way."
Lucky for us,
his daughter didn’t want to be a serial killer.
traveled through Egypt, he claims with the support of the Egyptian government
(yeah, sure), until he reached the area known as Bir Tawil, which is situated along the Sudanese border with Egypt, and encompasses
about 795 square miles.
Heaton says he discovered that area after searching online for unclaimed territories in the
world, and that the land has been part of a century old border dispute. (So I’m
assuming that all the land in Greenland was already taken.)
added that there’s no problem for him, since other people have tried to lay claim
Bir Tawil before, over the internet. But the fact that he actually made the journey to get
there, means he can rightfully claim it.
Of course, I’m
sure the Sudanese government has a slightly different opinion about Heaton
and his claim, but why should that matter? They’re African after all. It’s not as if they’re important or anything like that.
Besides, Heaton, like
everyone else, knows that all you have to do if you want a piece of land is just plant a
flag in it and it’s yours. How do you think Great Britain became the Great
Empire of the 19th Century? The one that the “the sun never sets on”? Just
go anywhere in the world and plant the Union Jack.
Disney found this story so wonderful and inspiring that they have plan to make a film about it, and have already
signed up a screenwriter, Stephany Folsom, to start writing the script, and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me," "The Greatest
Movie Ever Sold"), of all people, is attached as co-producer – which means that I have lost my
respect for him.
Of course Disney, seeing that they’ve opened a can of worms, are already trying to spin
the project, not as some white male fantasy about colonialism and white
male privilege; but, rather as a film about “the relationship between the father
and daughter set against a backdrop of a fantastical adventure.” And no doubt
Heaton encounters some very friendly Sudanese people along the way, willing to lend a helping hand while on his quest.
However, as you’d expect, many have been expressing outrage over this project, and, right
now, there’s no guarantee that the film will actually ever go into production.
Most film projects die during development. But just the idea that Disney is
even thinking about making this, is bad enough.
UPDATE: Heaton has now established an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to make his "kingdom" the first crowdfunded nation in the world. In return for any donations you can becomes a knight, or have a street named after you or have your face on his soon-to-come newly minted money for his"kingdom"
Now normally I would post a link to the the Indiegogo site, but let’s face it. It’s not like as if any of you out there are anxious to donate any money. But as S & A contributor Jana Sante said about Heaton those "colonial fantasies" sure refuse to die.