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We Come as Friends

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Autor:   •  May 18, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  950 Words (4 Pages)  •  102 Views

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1 May 2017

We Come As Friends

        The documentary We Come As Friends by Hubert Sauper was about Modern Sudan and how European colonization, modern colonization, and the new threat of globalization has effected the indigenous population. The film opens with a Sudanese man detailing the irony of the colonization process. He says that the Europeans come in, they colonize, they fight, and then they divide Africa into sections that fit their agendas and then they have the audacity to turn around and call them free nations. This division of Africa and exploitation of its resources has led the indigenous peoples to violence, famines, and death. The natural resources, such as oil, bring a new threat to the locals. Foreign interests, including the Chinese and the U.S., come into Africa to extract the oil, process it, and then ship it out of the country. This does not help the locals at whatsoever because those that are contracted with these foreign interests are usually soldiers who later go on to become armed militants fighting for whatever cause they believe in. Not to mention the fact that these foreign interests only impose on Sudanese land to take their resources and do nothing to help the local people through relief programs. All the while a American Christian family sets out in Sudan to create a “new Texas” by converting the people to their version of Christianity and westernizing them in the process. We can see this from the family forcing their clothes on a crying baby who seems to not like the new footwear he has been given, later we hear the father talking about how he “doesn’t want to change their culture, just the parts of it the bible says is wrong”.  Altogether this film was about the constant leveraging of the Sudanese and African people from foreign countries through modern colonization to take away land, resources, and rights form the indigenous population whilst attempting to strip them of their cultural heritage.

        I would summarize the documentary as an eye-opening experience to the horrors of global capitalism. It is clear throughout the documentary that the foreign nations exploiting the Sudanese lands act as an occupying force. They build fences and have armed guards stationed throughout their drilling and refining operations and constantly parade their mercenaries through the neighboring villages to maintain a sense of control. These Chinese drilling operations also endanger the locals water supply by polluting it to the point of toxicity. The current occupying forces are not the only concern of the locals, there are several mines scattered along their lands left by previous occupying forces like France, Britain, Italians, Chinese, and Americans; these mines did very little to further these countries goals but instead threaten the current population. The Arab world has also left its mark upon Sudanese society by colonizing, establishing a new religion and leaving they created serious religious tension in the region between Christians and Muslims.

        Two major themes of the documentary are the effects of modern colonization on indigenous populations, and the attempted suppression of Sudanese cultural heritage and education. They depict schools in Sudan as attempting to westernize their people in order to achieve the goal of advancement in the modern world. Hubert Sauper interviews a young girl attending a Sudanese school, here she says that the teachers forbid her to wear her traditional clothes and beads, and when she did they threw them in the toilet and beat her. The next scene is inside of one of these classrooms where the professor stresses the importance of clothes within a classroom setting stating that anyone without clothes will not be admitted into the school. Although we consider clothes to be a prerequisite to any gathering outside of the home, in Sudan they place less emphasis on this fact and this may be taking away from their cultural heritage. Next is the process of modern colonization and how it is stripping the land of natural resources therefore leaving the Sudanese people helpless and dying. Throughout history we see many examples of foreign entities coming into an already occupied land but nevertheless they still settled the land by exploiting the native people’s knowledge of their own legal systems. We see this exhibited in this film by the Chinese oil company, the Christian missionaries, and we see it first hand with an African man who was forced into signing a corrupt contract giving almost 600,000 acres of land to a company based in Dallas, TX for $25,000. The film exposes the domineering approach that foreign interests take in establishing their sovereignty in Sudan to make a quick buck. But the Sudanese people are left with nothing and are even worse off than they were before the modernization of their country because of the lack of environmental care taken by foreign interests.

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