Hugh Jackman is a hero, not in the imaginary world of movies but in the real hard copy world of global poverty. His battles are not with evil fictional film characters but with real life exploiters of the poor farmers of Ethiopia. You can be a cynic if you like and say, "...it's just publicity." and, yes, Jackman is, for anyone who has seen him perform, a skilled thespian. He is also, like the super hero, Wolverine a fierce and committed adversary. A man who sincerely believes in the adage, … become the change you seek … that is exactly what has happened here !
Dukales Dream is a testimony to Mr. Jackman's developing relationship with an illiterate young Ethiopian coffee farmer, struggling to feed, clothe and educate his family. Once you see them working together, side-by-side down in the rich alluvial soil of Ethiopia, we see that manual labor is the great equalizer. Down in the dirt, all men are equal. The experience proves a strong bonding mechanism and one cannot help but share in that nascent friendship, watching Hugh Jackman and Dukales communicate through the common language of the farmer.
Like Tedesse Meskela before him, Jackman succeeds in putting a human face on the plight of the exploited and in doing so gives us all insight into just how selfish and venal we are to permit these kind, sincere, decent fellow human beings to suffer so we can have that vente or grande every morning. Meskela succeeded in using the documentary, Black Gold to effect profound economic and social change in the lives of the coffee farmers. His effectiveness brought in millions of dollars in additional revenue to the farmers in his cooperative.
It should be obvious that there is a strong and relevant synergy here. Meskela and Jackman, working cooperatively, could fundamentally change the system that oppresses small holder commodity farmers all over Africa. While improvements in the lives of Ethiopian Coffee Farmers still are needed, the fundamental problem lies in global trade policies that permit such exploitation. Tedesse Meskela is an Agricultural Economist with extensive business and diplomatic experience. Together, Mr. Jackman and Mr. Meskela would make a powerful force for much needed change.