Documentary: The Shadow World

6 Aug

This ninety minute documentary, linked below, is the most important film I’ve seen in years. It’s based on a book of the same name by Andrew Feinstein, leading ANC light till he resigned in 2001 in protest at its refusal to allow an enquiry into a multi-billion dollar arms deal tainted by allegations of high level corruption. His book, After The Party, tells that story.

(For a painfully cogent account of how political victory for the ANC was neutered by crippling economic concessions in deals done in the shadows, as the world drank in the razzmatazz up to and including Mandela’s swearing in, see Chapter Ten – Democracy Born in Chains – of Naomi Klein’s, The Shock Doctrine.)

Later Feinstein wrote The Shadow World, described by Noam Chomsky as unveiling “a shadow world of corruption, greed, slaughter and other horrors tawdry and gruesome in its criminality”. That book was turned last year into the film of the same name, directed by Johan Grimonprez.

Ruefully noting its length, I began watching out of a sense of duty but within two minutes was hooked. If this doesn’t shake to the core our complacency over the ceaseless and immensely profitable wars waged across the world, ‘developing’ world in particular, by the rogue state at the heart of the most powerful empire ever, then nothing will.

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