Globalization collateral damage

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In his documentary entitled "Darwin's Nightmare", Hubert Sauper shows how globalization becomes the ultimate stage of human evolution, and how the law of the strongest, applied to the economic and social system, generates ecological and human catastrophes.

Tanzania, shore of Lake Victoria, late 50. It is in this region hitherto preserved that the Westerners decided to introduce the "Nile perch", a fish very appreciated by European and Japanese consumers but which will prove to be a formidable predator, transforming one of the richest eco-systems of the world into a zone of death. This predator eliminated the 200 fish species originally found in Lake Victoria, leaving water without oxygen and living species. The fish species that fed on algae gradually disappeared, the algae accumulate, die and cause falls in oxygen levels, while the Nile perch ends up feeding on its own young, for lack of other resources ... Over-exploited by more and more fishermen - in 1970, 4.000 boats brought back 15.000 tons of fish, in 1980 their number went to 6.000 and the fishing produced 100.000 tons of fish-, the Nile perch has in a few decades, transformed an old 500 000 lake into eutrophic waters.
In Mwanza, a shoreline town on Lake Victoria, between 500 and 1000 tons of fish arrive daily in factories and are then transported to Europe by Russian cargo planes. But the planes do not transport only fish: they arrive in Africa loaded with weapons, sold by the Europeans to the protagonists of the guerillas who rage in the region -Rwanda, Congo, Burundi ... - Hubert Sauper shows the incessant ballet of these planes, some of whom - like cynicism - bring humanitarian aid to the UN refugee camps at the same time as they bring them the weapons that will kill them. Without being totally ignored, countless wars are often referred to as "tribal conflicts", such as those of Rwanda and Burundi. The hidden causes of such disturbances are, in most cases, imperialistic interests for natural resources, "says the author, who made a previous 1998 film about Rwanda.

Capitalism won "

Parallel to this fatal spectacle, the director shows the arrival of a delegation of the European Commission, came to congratulate, with the local industrialists, of the economic success of the perch of the Nile. 34 million euros have been paid by Europe to develop this sector, whose production is intended only for Western consumers (2267 tons in 2004 for the French market only). The population that survives near the lake feeds only fish waste unsuitable for sale. Because this industry has not destroyed the ecological wealth of the region, it has also torn apart the local economic and social system, the local fishermen excluded from the Nile perch industry having no other species to fish. The eternal question of what social and political structure is best for the world seems to have been answered, the author says. Capitalism has won. Future societies will be governed by a consumerist system perceived as "civilized" and "good". In the Darwinian sense, the "right system" has won. He won by convincing his enemies or eliminating them. Unemployment, destroyed families, fragmented communities: in this implacable demonstration of biological and social Darwinism, Hubert Sauper shows, without misery, the ravages of capitalism on human beings. Prostitution, alcoholism, acute prevalence of AIDS, street children who sniff the molten plastic of fish wrappers ... the destruction of local life is indeed a Darwinian nightmare. I tried to transform the story of a fish's success and the ephemeral "boom" around this "perfect" animal into an ironic and frightening allegory of the new world order, explains Hubert Sauper. But the demonstration would be the same in Sierra Leone and the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras they would be bananas, and in Iraq, Nigeria or Angola they would be crude oil. "

Darwin's Nightmare (Darwin's Nightmare), film Sauper is released in theaters on March 2 2005. The film received 8 awards at international festivals, including the Europea Price Cinema International Film Festival in Venice 2004.

Véronique SMEE


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