Friday, March 23, 2007

Someone Else's War (not a review!)

A quick recommendation: check out Lee Wang's film Someone Else's War.

i was lucky enough to be at the world premiere of this film at the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival a few days ago, and think it is a film that should be checked out by everyone in the anti-war and also especially anti-capitalist movements.

Unfortunately i do not have time to write a review, or even an adequate synopsis, at this point. Our trip to SF was a bit of a disaster in terms of the anarchist bookfair i was counting on to pay some bills, and has left me in hyperventilation mode regarding work. So i'm gonna try and be disciplined and not blog until i get some of the most pressing crap out of the way.

Nevertheless, to explain why i am recommending this film: it's not revolutionary, and it's not even anti-imperialist, but it is an informative expose of the U.S. army's dependence on migrant Third World labour to maintain its military infrastructure within Iraq.

I learned, for instance, that 80% of Halliburton employees are not American. This overwhelmingly Asian proletarian workforce earns less than $400 a month (compare to $75,000+ a year for American Halliburton employees), live in segregated camps surrounded by concertina wire and patrolled by private security guards, rely on table scraps from the US Army cafeteria to survive, and are sometimes not even paid the wages they had been promised.

While not touched upon in the film, i could not help but think of the many parallels between these workers' conditions and those of other trafficked individuals. This is indentured servitude, with a fee paid by the workers in order to be "placed" in a job overseas, putting them in a position where they are obliged to work a certain amount of time simply to pay off this initial debt. Some have signed up to work in other countries, only to be told - once they're already far away from home - that they must either accept a placement in Iraq or be heavily fined.

Not a review, not even a good synopsis. But i've got other work to do. If you can, check this film out!

(a list of upcoming screenings available here)

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