SwitSalone.com just brought a very disturbing documentary to my attention, Vice Travel Guide to LIberia. As part of their on-going “Vice Travel” series, VICE took their cameras and money to Monrovia, and made an hour-long film.
Vickie Remoe, SwitSalone:
If you ever wanted to get an impression of what some white middle class American men may find interesting about Africa then this is the film for you. Archival images and videos of the blood and gore of Liberia’s civil war are juxtaposed with current slum images of little kids shooting cocaine, filth and open sewage. If you believe this version of Liberia, the only thing thats changed since the end of its civil war is peace. The roads and buildings are dilapidated. Every man is an excombatant and every women a sex worker and there are no schools. The government does nothing. There are no restaurants, no hotels, no paved roads, intellectuals, nothing… you can take film crew to any African nation and tell a one sided story of how bad things are. But you can also do the same thing in America. You can take a camera to the 16th congressional district in the South Bronx, where over 50,000 people live in just 1 square mile in the projects and show crime, violence, and abject poverty.
For me the most disturbing part of this documentary was a trip to West Point:
(See the whole documentary here)
As I said to Vickie on her Facebook post– This is exactly why we need Africa journalist- in African counties- reporting for an American audience! Because there are many people here that genuinely wont know any better, who will easily accept a documentary like this as the entire picture of Liberia. Don’t get me wrong- what VICE depicted is horrible and should not be allowed to happen in 2011. But like Vickie pointed out– there are horrible things happening right now in the Bronx, where the same thing can be said– but that is not what represents the entire Untied Stated.