City of God

I rented the DVD of City of God last night, after hearing many good reviews from friends. I wasn’t disappointed. It was an excellent movie, at once entertaining, educational and thought provoking. I would recommend it in an instant.

Despite the movie being top-shelf, it wasn’t the best part of the DVD package. The extras section of the DVD included a documentary on the current state of affairs in the favellas (slums) of Brazil, and the ongoing war (and the term is not used as a metaphorically in this case) between police and the drug dealers. The piece was incredibly thought provoking, showing interviews with dealers, the dwellers, and the police. It is a complicated scenario, and the piece didn’t take sides.

One quote during the doco caught my attention. A policemen being interviewed demonstrated the kind of weaponry being used by the dealers. The weapons involved were menacing, and indeed are war like in their size, purpose and destructive power. Another interviewee mentioned that these weapons are coming from U.S and Swedish manufacturers. He commented that if the U.S is allowed to engage in a war on drugs to stop supply in Cambodia and the like, he would like the opportunity to wage war on the supply of weapons to Brazil by Colt and other weapons manufacturers.

The industrial-miltary complex is not only a danger from the perspective of the U.S waging wars in the world, but also because of the byproduct of weapons proliferation into warring hotspots around the world – the DR of Congo and Brazil are two prime examples.

This reminds me of a lyric in To The Teeth by Ani DiFranco:

“look at where the profits are
that’s how you’ll find the source

open fire on the NRA
and all the lies they told us
along the way
open fire on each weapons manufacturer
while he’s giving head
to some republican senator”

It made sense to me when I first heard the lyric. After seeing this doco last night, I’m convinced that this has to happen if we are to see the violence decrease in the world. And this isn’t just the U.S. It’s Sweden, it’s Russia, it’s France, it’s the UK, it’s the world over.

Of course it’s not the only thing that has to happen, but it is an important part. If the U.S was really serious about it’s so-called war on terror, it would do something about this. But of course they won’t. The rhetoric is never matched with action.

And it’s such a waste. A waste of energy, a waste of resources, a waste of life.