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Feeding Europe, Starving at Home

(Must see – good example of how filmmaking can actually be a potential catalyst for social change – this world is so fucked up, I almost cried when i read this story.–KG)
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: August 3, 2005
“Darwin’s Nightmare,” Hubert Sauper’s harrowing, indispensable documentary, is framed by the arrival and departure of an enormous Soviet-made cargo plane at an airstrip outside Mwanza, Tanzania. The plane, with its crew of burly Russians and Ukrainians, will leave Mwanza for Europe carrying 55 tons of processed fish caught by Lake Victoria fisherman and filleted at a local factory. Though Mr. Sauper’s investigation of the economy and ecology around the lake ranges far and wide – he talks to preachers and prostitutes, to street children and former soldiers – he keeps coming back to a simple question. What do the planes bring to Africa?
The answers vary. The factory managers say the planes’ cavernous holds are empty when they land. One of the Russians, made uncomfortable by the question, mutters something vague about “equipment.” Some of his colleagues, and several ordinary Mwanzans, are more forthright: the planes, while they occasionally bring humanitarian food and medical aid, more often bring the weapons that fuel the continent’s endless and destructive wars.
In any case, they leave behind a scene of misery and devastation that “Darwin’s Nightmare” presents as the agonized human face of globalization. While the flesh of millions of Nile perch is stripped, cleaned and flash-frozen for export to wealthy countries, millions of people in the Tanzanian interior live on the brink of famine. Some of them will eat fried fish heads, which are processed in vast open-air pits infested with maggots and scavenging birds. Along the shores of the lake, homeless children fight over scraps of food and get high from the fumes of melting plastic-foam containers used to pack the fish. In the encampments where the fishermen live, AIDS is rampant and the afflicted walk back to their villages to die.
Feeding Europe, Starving at Home – New York Times
Feeding Europe, Starving at Home