Monday, October 19, 2009

Apocalypse Africa (movie review)

This film aims to give some of the back story regarding coups in Africa, starting at the beginning of the so-called post colonial period.

The core thesis is that the German policy of selling weapons to both sides in a conflict, so that feuding peoples would murder each other, has continued, thanks to racist thinking at the highest levels. In the foreground: disturbing, violent, horrific imagery, talking heads.

The audio track gives us more vintage Nixon. The security council guy reminds us that Dick was a small town bigot surrounded by yes men (you have to kowtow to the president, if you wanna stay in the game, not say "no" like Gen. Ed Lansdale did when asked by JFK to murder Diem, provoking a hissy fit from Secretary McNamara -- this isn't in the movie, A.J. Langguth is my source).

Nixon's mindset was reflective of middle class America's mindset at the time, informed by Tarzan movies and what not.

Docile Americans, gullible to the core, tend to believe whatever their "leaders" tell them, says the movie. Ergo Vietnam, Iraq, many other disasters. Without a vigilant and educated people, you get a lot of bad ideas put into action.

The film remains murky on many of the details, including some of its sources. Why exactly was Patrice Lumbaba killed again? They scrounge up some CIA guy from twenty years ago, but he doesn't wanna talk about it.

Regarding Liberia, we know Firestone wanted its rubber for cheap, so they could make those crummy tires for the Ford Explorers, but that's about all we know (I exaggerate -- we know plenty more).

Haile Selassie comes off as a principal anti-racist in the movie. He goes down in history for this, per the Lucy Exhibit as well.