District 12

I saw The Hunger Games a few days ago. It was okay. A bit clichéd. In the movie/book, the protagonist Katniss Everdeen comes from “District 12” which is strongly alluded to be in the Appalachians. Like the rest of the Districts in the fictional far-future nation of Panem, the coal-producing District 12 is ruled with an iron fist by the “Capitol” via violent intimidation and a deliberate policy of keeping the inhabitants impoverished. Erik Loomis has more:

They rule District 12 like a fiefdom, murdering resistance organizers and forcing workers into generations of endemic poverty. Panem uses prisoners as slave labor, leading to major labor uprisings. District 12 erupted into war after workers, tired of decades of oppression, took up arms when a sympathetic guardian was murdered by Capitol agents; over 100 residents were murdered in the weeks to follow. Thousands of miners, whose labors fuel the lavish lifestyle of the Capitol, die of black lung disease.

Oh wait…my mistake, that’s a description of conditions in the real-world Appalachians a few generations ago. Only slightly altered.

The past. And possible future.