Monday, June 08, 2015

The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer: why I returned to Indonesia's killing fields:
"If Oppenheimer’s methods are provocative, so is his political message: that we in the west are an essential part of the horror, injustice and silence. Both the American and UK governments, he reminds us, sanctioned the mass killings of so-called communists in Indonesia in 1965 at the height of the cold war – “the UK was the biggest supplier of weapons”. When he drew attention to Britain’s role at the Baftas last year, the BBC, much to his dismay, removed the reference when it broadcast his speech.In The Look of Silence, he uncovers a long-lost late-60s NBC TV news broadcast from Indonesia in which the reporter praises the country’s beauty and celebrates the recent genocide as “the single biggest defeat handed to communists anywhere in the world”. It then cuts to footage of survivors held in a prison camp and forced to work “but this time as prisoners and at gunpoint”. The company they are working for as slave labour is Goodyear.
“This was reported on US television in 1967,” says Oppenheimer. “Because of the lens of ideology, Americans did not perceive this as a replay of what happened commercially and industrially at Auschwitz. This is a profound stain on America’s claim to be a force for justice and democracy in the postwar world.”"
P.S. May be related: "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding and "Looking Away" by Harsh Mander

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