Friday, September 23, 2011

Machine gun preacher and SS Cinema

"Is there any movie about South Sudan?" a good friend and SPLA soldier asks me in Juba Arabic.

"Non that I know. Although I heard they are making a movie about a khawaja who is apparently rescuing children from the LRA" I reply.

He stares at me blankly.....not so much because my Juba Arabic is incomprehensible but because the idea of the only movie about South Sudan is about a white guy. A white guy that he has never even heard of.

The Machine Gun Preacher movie premiered on the 21st somewhere far enough away from the location of where the story comes from, that the peripheral characters are unable to stand up and scream

"Who are these people and when the hell did any of that happen?!"

I could go on to talk about Sam Childers' methodology with explosive cynicism, but there are plenty of other blog posts that have covered this issue in the past. But I won't. I would however like to refer you to this rather interesting article written by Sister Rose Pacatte, the National Catholic Reporter's official film reviewer. For those of you who have been following the story of the Machine Gun preacher, you may notice that the quotes used in this article suggests that Sam Childers has somewhat come to realise the faults of his own actions and is dialing down the self-righteous machoism.......he still sounds batshit crazy though.

Anyways, at the moment, my biggest problem with this is that this preachy piece of shit is going to be the first movie about South Sudan. And I mean movie movie, documentaries don't count because most of the world's population can't quite be bothered to watch a documentary.

However this movie portrays South Sudanese is how the world will come to see them, a nation who needed a single white knight to come and rescue their children. Forgotten will be the struggle of the South Sudanese soldiers who fought for decades to achieve their freedom. From what I can see in the previews, this movie may even go so far as to portray the SPLA as being an impedance to the protection and rescue of the children.
For me that is probably the worst crime of this movie.
Luckily, there are those out there who want to do justice. Lekan Ayinde and Dare Folder. Two Nigerian film makers who have come to Juba to produce "Salt of The Nation"

The director says that "Salt of the Nation" is about "the Sudan of yesterday, today and tomorrow." Folder said the movie addresses the struggle South Sudan has gone through and the challenges it will face after the referendum.

I for one will be saving my popcorn for this film to be available (I think the movie might already be out, but I have not been able to find it anywhere).


  1. Thanks for the link. You might be interested in the Christianity Today take on Childers orphanage too: And I talked more about the white man saves Africa theme and perils of armed humanitarianism here:

    You're right - it's so sad that stuff like this and Blood Diamond is how most people will encounter Africa. Sigh..

  2. Thanks for sharing Brett. The Christian Today article is mad interesting, but one must sometimes be wary about negative comments that comes out of communities. I know of several instances of when a community or government office have spoken maliciously about a project simply because they had an unrelated disagreement with its process. That is not to say that I support what he is doing. Based on what the article says, the system Childers has in place for dealing with the orphanage's finance is atrocious.