The Empire in Africa

Sierra Leone sits in Western Africa. It is a nation caught between crushing poverty and wealth beyond the imagination of most people on earth.  Diamonds are ripe in the land and harvested by the Western World. In 1991, a civil war broke out. Enough was enough. A revolutionary group tried to free the people from their dependency on the mine owners. The mine owners had other plans.

Over the next 15 years of warfare, over 70,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were injured. Millions lost their homes, their family, their income. Everything. The devastation is almost impossible to comprehend.  The Empire in Africa is the result of trying to make sense of the madness. Premiering in 2006, at the Sundance Film Festival, the film has been well received. But, some question the accuracy of the reporting and the agenda of the director. In this sense, it reminded us of the recent Kony 2012 documentary in Uganda.

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  • Paul Thaler

    Thanks for posting! It’s good for people to know that there is a lot of S#$t going on in Africa, besides Kony. This is a good summary of what happened there over the last 20 years.

    When I get engaged, I’m going to give my girl one of those candy rings. Cheaper and not a blood diamond. heh.

    • Vlatko

      FUnny comment.

  • Roy

    The more I understand Africa, the more I think there is no understanding Africa.

    It’s not only the complexity of the conflicts but the cultural space in which they take place. Mutilating children and eating the hearts of the innocents to gain magical powers are not simple results of a resource struggle, they are artifacts of a tribal culture which the western mind is neither ready nor able to comprehend.

  • VideoEyes

    Valuable resources are a disaster to common people where the resource is discovered, and will never stop; unless creed and corruption ends.

  • Quixie

    Fair warning for anyone who would watch this documentary while eating: it contains some brutally violent and gory footage.

  • Yassine Abdi

    Its true for the tribal part of where those bizzare way of killing is from!! BUT this is not afrika, this is war in afrika, this not resuming the life of africans but centered on war in some parts of afrika. Voilence and currupion are a human being dark side wish take place“unfortunatly“ in any culture around the world! Afrika is beautiful and we should also talking more about wath poeple’s do there to build an efecient and beautiful peaceful continent!!!

    • Ballake

      I totally agree. If you visit Africa or have any meaningful contact with Africans what you experience is people who on the whole have an amazing ability to improvise, create solutions to problems, make successful small businesses, build their own lives and help their communities, and work damn hard — as a European I can only admit I couldn’t keep up or do half what they do. Of course there are scumbags in Africa who run criminal activities or commit atrocities but unfortunately that is not unique to Africa! I especially admire the African women I know not just because so many are beautiful and have so much style about them but because they are often so brave, morally and physically, — winning a Nobel prize was long overdue for an African woman. Sadly, Africa is only ever seen in Western media as a news story and usually a bad news story. We rarely see African movies or hear African music — our loss. If we did we might realise that Africans are human too and there are a huge variety of African cultures not just one lump it together all-Africans-are-the-same culture! Even thinking about the bad news stories, although they usually show Africans in crisis (war, famine, disease, poverty, homelessness etc) what comes across to me is that anyone in those situations would suffer the same way and suffering because of e.g. a war does not mean you personally are someone inadequate or ‘racially inferior’. Anyone in a war or famine or other crisis will find it tough. None of us is immune to the human condition whatever our skin colour or culture. All best wishes to you and God grant that we never have to find out the hard way what it is like to be caught up in a civil war. Amen.

      • Roy

        See this is what I mean. No one can mention the cultural factors which lead to these levels of violence for they immediately get accused of racism. The western mind is ruled by political correctness and so can not think anything bad of any other culture because that would be politically incorrect. However, sometimes, and it is quite funny when it happens, the dogma of political correctness contradicts itself. I saw this happen in a recent documentary about gays in Uganda. Now it is politically correct to support gay rights, but it is politically incorrect to portray other cultures in a negative light. So what do you do when you have an African culture that thinks people should be hung or shot just for being gay? I half expected the liberal reporter’s head to spin around with smoke coming out his ears while screaming, “does not compute! Does not compute!” Apparently, though, they decided supporting gay rights was more important and turned a lens on the incredibly hateful and violent beliefs in Uganda’s mainstream culture.

        My point is despite there being almost no chance for a westerner to understand Africa, there is even less of a chance if he wants to view Africans as people who differ only by circumstance. Truly circumstance is part of it (a big part), but so, I suspect, are ancient cultural values, values which are not always pretty.

        You do make a salient point about the lack of positive news stories. Maybe some benefactor will add something to the play list that is less gruesome and not a nature documentary.

  • scott

    A human tragedy. The barbarism displayed against unarmed civilians, espcially children, was extremely difficult to watch. Racism and exploitation continue to devistate this great continent and its people. I weep for Africa.

    • omaha

      Its not racism, Its not white people oppressing black people, its just tyranny and civil war.

    • Spider Dijon

      The racism of black people slaughtering black people?

  • KellyL

    Very dry delivery for such an important issue. The narrator nearly sounds like a robot.

  • DyDy

    Penfold should be brought to Justice! 

  • Thebigsween
  • James Robert Edwards

    I hope the UN is truly trying 2 do something about this; it’s 2012 and this shit just like prejudism in the USA should not be happening!!!