The Empire in Africa

    • Philippe Diaz
    • United States, Ivory Coast
    • 2006
    • 87 min
    • Panorama
    Sierra Leone is the poorest nation in Africa. Once upon a time, the country was called the Athens of Africa because of its rich raw materials. But the gold, diamonds and bauxite attracted scores of foreign companies that, in conjunction with the government, made sure that the riches did not go to the country's people. In 1991, a civil war erupted when the RUF rebel army took up arms to dispute this exploitation. What followed were 10 terrible years in which the division of power constantly changed between the rebels, the army (which later partly joined forces with the rebels), and the government (which engaged foreign forces). Meanwhile, the international community also decided to interfere, but as a humanitarian relief organisation later declared, only if it served their own purposes. The population of Sierra Leone became the victim and prisoner of a dead-end situation. Only when the media exposed the large-scale amputation of children's limbs and the fact that humanitarian aid was only reaching certain parts of the country was there any real international outcry. This resulted in a peace agreement in 1999, which was violated shortly thereafter and did not offer the poor population any real protection.

    Credits

    • 87 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: English, French, Mende
    • Subtitles in: English
    Director
    Philippe Diaz
    Production
    Philippe Diaz for Cinema Libre Studio
    Cinematography
    Philippe Diaz, Henri Rossier
    Editing
    Philippe Diaz
    Sound
    Pavol Zatko

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