Documentary Overview: The Garden (2008)
This was a great documentary to watch that appealed to me from two angles. First was the emotional attachments of people to what they love and second is the fulfilment of the legalities irrespective of what people may be emotionally attached to those things. If I had to answer about my response to the outcome of the film, I would say that it was what I had expected since the beginning. Ralf Horowitz was the legal owner of the land and he was supposed to be granted ownership of it. It did bring tears into my eyes to see all these people evicted from the south central farms but the law had to be followed.
There were many strong characters to be selected from the movie to analyze their arguments e.g. Tezo, Jan Perry and Dan Stormer but I would like to choose Rufina. She is the one who has led the whole movement of avoiding the eviction of the farmers from the south central farms with responsibility and leading from the front. I do not believe that the first eviction date that was timed to be in 2004 could have been dragged till 2006 if she had not taken the responsibility in her hands and not found Dan Stormer who is a Civil Right Lawyer. To the end of the documentary, she says that “I wasn’t elected to cry, I was elected to fight”. This is exactly what she did. She could anticipate riots that could have taken place when in 2004, five days before the eviction date, an attempt was made to start the evacuation. She says at that time, and I quote “the community is not receiving it well”.
I also admire Rufina’s dignified attitude where she has the ability to keep her nerves. I think that she is the most authentic, true and close to reality of all the other characters. There are several occasions where many people break down in tears or get emotional and resist the authorities but Rufina has always been of the point of view that the movement has to progress peacefully. She does not believe in violence. She even anticipates that there are attempts to make it a racial issue between black and brown community. She say that “They want to make it a race thing” in one of the meetings with Dan Stormer and the co-counselor for the farmers. The community even raises over 16 million dollars in less than 60 days. Rufina has been behind all these efforts who get the attention of the politicians and the media to a matter that over looked by the majority. The arguments by Rufina are calculated which does not overlook the rights of the opposite party. She makes an argument that “everybody is talking about the rights of the owner, I am not debating it, but what about the rights of the community.” Over here she is making it clear that Ralf Horowitz is the legal owner of the land but some arrangement has to be made to compensate the efforts of the community that lasted for over 10 years and converted a dump to a beautiful Garden.