*Sigh* In today’s, ‘who told them this would be a good idea?’ news; Disney is working on a film called The Princess of North Sudan… but it’s not about a Sudanese girl. It’s based on the true story of Jeremiah Heaton, a Virginia farmer who, after discovering that Bir Tawil in North Sudan is the only unclaimed piece of land on earth, claimed it so that his daughter could be a real life princess.
After news outlets picked up the story in 2014 Heaton got a lot of flack for what many felt was present‐day colonialism: a white man finding an ‘unclaimed’ land and taking it for personal gain.
HelloGiggles.com has more details on how, exactly, Heaton made his claim;
““planting a flag in Sudan [and] making a white girl the princess of an African country” is exactly what Heaton did, from a completely literal and neutral perspective. In June 2014, the Virginia farmer traveled 6,000 miles (including 14 hours in a caravan) to the unclaimed territory, all in order to plant a flag originally designed by his children on the back of a restaurant placemat. The “country’s founding” was on his daughter’s 7th birthday.
“I just followed the same process as many others have done over hundreds of years, planted our flag, and claimed it,” Heaton told The Guardian. The process Heaton is referring to is, of course, colonialism — but he insists that his case is different.”
Heaton claims that he wants to help the Sudanese people by using “his” land to try new agricultural methods. And as for Disney, by all indications, they are really going through with this.
It’s very unclear why on earth Disney thinks it would be a good idea to bring this story to the silver screen. Aside from the uncomfortable parallels to colonialism, many are pointing out how offensive it is that Disney’s first African princess movie will center on a white American girl.
Ladies, what are your thoughts?