District 9 was a well put together film. Going in I wasn’t sure what it was about, but the themes were very interesting and the visuals were quite stunning. I was impressed by the scale of the movie and the realism of the aliens, but then I saw that Peter Jackson was a producer and it all made sense. With the exception of a few over the top scenes at the end of the film involving alien weaponry and fights, the plot of the film seemed fairly realistic. What intrigued me the most about the film was the overall premise of how the Earth would react if aliens were to contact us.
In the movie, an alien vessel somehow breaks down and parks over Johannesburg, South Africa. After three months, the humans break into the ship and extract the aliens. Unsure what to do with them, the aliens are confined to an area called District 9 where they are put into shacks and not treated particularly well. Nigerian gang lords begin to start a drug trade in canned cat food and start trying to acquire alien weaponry (which they can’t use). After a period of time, it is decided that District 9 is too close to the city and that all of the aliens are to be evicted and moved to a new compound further from the city. This eviction process is where the problems begin.
The course of action followed in District 9, sadly, is what quite probably would happen if aliens contacted Earth. Human kind has a history of confining undesirables into small, controlled colonies to make society “safer.” This includes the Japanese internment in America during WWII, the prison colony of Australia, and terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. This would especially be true if the contacting aliens looked like those in District 9. Humans have a tendency to be Xenophobic and this feeds into our fears and prejudices. Earth would probably react differently if the first species to contact us were Vulcans (or some species that closely resembling humans) as in Star Trek: First Contact.
If I were in charge, I am not sure how I would handle the situation. I think I would try to assimilate the aliens in to our society. In the film they made references to trying to get the aliens jobs, but it seemed that it wasn’t going well. In that case, admittedly I don’t know if I have a better answer. If we have learned anything from our history, it is that treating people with respect and care is the best way to engender friendship and peace. Hostility and anger leads to more hostility and anger, very rarely has a group been successfully contained against their will by brute force.
What I really wonder is if the United Nations or someone has a plan in place for when this happens. It seems like the kind of thing that a think tank would be good for planning. I also wonder if what happens in Star Trek: First Contact is what would happen. Not the details of how the aliens come, but more so the whole idea of the Earth coming together in harmony and peace once we realize that we are not alone in the universe. It may be the only thing that saves us as a people and creates a world where money is no longer used and our main goal as humans is just to better ourselves and Captain Picard says so many times.