Friday, April 27, 2007

Les Martyrs du Golfe d'Aden

I saw a film on France3 2 weeks ago as part of the series about the sea called Thalassa.
The film was a harrowing segment about the refugees fleeing Somalia by trying to go to Yemen in small boats run by human traffikers. The continuing violence and chaos of the war between the Islamic Tribunal Government and the Tribal War Lords supported by the US Government and aided by the Eithiopian army has led to thousands of people risking their lives to take this journey from the Somalian port city of Bosaso to Yemen. They have to pay about 40 dollars US for the journey which they earn by working as slave laborers in the port. The port is controlled by the anti Islamic Tribunal governor with US armed support. The workers live in cardboard shacks and have to pay to even use the latrines.
Perhaps 4,000 people have perished in the attempt to make the crossing. They are stuffed into little boats that should have a crew of 10 normally. 130 is the average number. People have to sit in a cramped position wiitthout moving for up to 3 days with no food or water subjected to beatings and sadistic abuse by the capos who enforce order through raw fear. People are thrown over board to inspire fear in others.
Entire boat loads of people have been murdered by the traffickers who just go off with the money they collect.
The UN tries in vain to persuade people not to make the trip and even offers trips back to their villages and payments as bribes. For most of these people there is no turning back, the reality they left can't be any better than the reality they look forward to.
Warships from 13 countries patrol these waters including the US Coast Guard and they seem to look the other way most of the time when they see these boats. When the boats think they are going to be stopped and searched, they throw their human cargo overboard.
This misery was documented by a courageous French journalist, Daniel Grandclement. He managed to make a connection with the smugglers and offered them $400 if they would take him and let him film. He was stuffed onto a boat along with 128 others and beaten, threatened with drowning and suffered for 3 days with the rest. Miraculously, he was allowed to take a precious few hours of video tape and managed to document his experience. While on board, he is beaten and the rest of his money is stolen.
The misery on board is relentless. The capos are sadistic and crazed. People are pointlessly beaten. Luckily, on this trip, no one is thrown over board.
After 3 days, the entire group is tied together and made to jump inot the sea off the coast of Yemen. Grandclement manages to wrap his camera in a plastic bag and somehow gets separated from the group. On the shore there is a lucky strok as two women who are documentary journalists have been camping on the beach and filming the refugees for a film they are making. They manage to film the people struggling out of the waves and it is eerily filmed with night vision cameras. The group is taken to Sanaa, the Yemeni Capital. Daniel is found by a Yemeni military patrol and taken to a prison. Some how he manages to get in contact with the French Embassy and is released and finishes his documentary after meeting the women reporters. The film ends with a group of refugees who are made to leave Sanaa and walk into the desert with nothing. There is no way to know how their story ends........
This is an amazingly bleak documentary called Les Martyrs du Golfe d'Aden. It is in French, but this story has to be told. Over a thousand people are murderd a month and with the present out and out war in Mogadicio, the number of refugees have risen dramatically. The link will take you to a web site with a short excerpt from the film.
We were able to obtain a DVD from France3 and it is being sent to friends at the UN in New York. It has been shown in Geneva, but the situation has to be reported to the rest of the world.

11 comments:

Barb said...

and what should the world do, Microdot?

It would be Iraq all over again.

I find it intriguing that people opposed to Iraq involvement because of their civil war --think we should do something in other areas with a similar civil war problem like Darfur.

I think France should take on a military rescue project.

I see you are saying the USA is complicit in the abuses documented, and I wouldnt' think we would continue to be if your documentary is correct.

microdot said...

It's not "documentary". In the film though, the administrator of the port of Bosaso is an American appointee.
We are already there. The US is conducting bombing raids over Mogadiscio and tactically supplying the Eithiopians. This is reported in the mainstream American press, but a lot isn't.
The Warlords are a group of private tribal armies that operate in the conditions of chaos and make all the money. They flourish in chaos.
Daniel Grandclement is a extremely committed man who put ihis life on the line to make this film. He presents the facts with very little political comment.
France is involved in Darfour now.
If the blowhared Sarkozy gets in, perhaps he will make a show of force and bluster, but don't count on it.
Germany, Spain and Italy have all made statements of support for the election of Segolene Royal who if elected, I guarantee will raise Frances stature and is motivated by honest hmanitarian motives!

Barb said...

And the solution for Somalia??

Your article is one more illustration that the world's in an awful mess --I still am convinced that Judeo Christian heritage and/or conversion of the hearts to christ is the best for a nation's peace --when those Christian values of love and forgiveness, as well as fighting defensively for one's nation or others with a goal of peace and freedom as well as justice-- when those valures are truly lived --or at least attempted.

I Just read newsweek about genetic propensity for violence and agression --and they've pretty much decided genes are not determinants by the research. Cho, e.g., and the other violent ones of his type, will not own responsibility but blame everybody else. Cho even likened himself to Jesus, doing something for the underdogs like himself by his violent act --in his NBC rant. Jesus saved people by his death; he didn't take anyone with him!

Jesus' first street preaching: "Repent --for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" Cho was unrepentant, and took no blame for his problems --which Newsweek underscored as typical of the violent. It's either "she made me do it" or "the devil made me do it." "I'm not responsible, you are."

"If a man says he has not sin, he is a liar." "There is none righteous, no not one." " All have sinned and come short of God's glory."

And the good news is we can "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." and "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Cho obviously never expressed remorse for his hatred only self-absorbed, self-pity and rage--the desire to get even --when "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord," not ours. God will see that the cruel and unjust are punished; it's not our job as individuals--except through gov't means upholding proper justice for protection of all--what is proper justice? It isn't sharia law or communistic law which are both repressive and cruel--it is Judeo-Christian based law --which we have in the western civ nations.

There is an act of the will involved more than genes in any behaviors --the article said no deterministic genes for behaviors (mindsets) even if we find potential similar genes in violent people affecting brain chemistry --we find the same genes in peaceful people. Likewise with gays and straights.

(Knew I'd get on that again, didn't you?") --but it's important to know that we have choice over behaviors--and the article talked about people who CHECK THEIR OWN THINKING --that we can help to program our own brains by our thinking. Sin starts with a thought and we can reject wrong thinking instead of nursing it along and wallowing in it. Jesus or St. Paul said it first, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" -- and "whatsover things are good and true and lovely, think on these." (no time to get these cited and exact, sorry --gotta look at used cars today --to decide what to do with mine that needs $2100 work --at least.)

Article went on to say childhood experiences and social environment (including home) were crucial, regarding the evolution of a psycopath/sociopath. I don't think that it's all the parents' fault in that we have free will--but what the parents teach combined with how parents treat their children --has great impact--so agreed the article. Me: Religious teaching by a tyrant causes rebellion and rejection of the faith --but even the best of parents can have rebels --but the bible says "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

As an example, the article said a shy child with genetic predisposition for shyness can be helped to be functionally outgoing. I had a shy child whose knees would knock in vocal performance --but she gained confidence singing with sister. The other night she directed about 300 kids in a fantastic program with songs from "wicked" and "Godspell." and classical choral pieces for upcoming competition. And can now perform with confidence by her self--despite natural shyness and stage fright.

Re: gov't messes --there is always that pesky free will factor that inclines individuals and rulers to prioritize selfish interests, greed and abuse of power and disregard for freedom and life.

the world does need world powers who use that power to help liberate others --but it's always costly.

steve said...

When my USMC helicopter squadron was comming back from the gulf war in 1991 we were redirected to Somolia to evacuate the U.S. Embasy. It was complete chaos. We took a lot of fire but were forbidden (by the ambassadore I think) to return fire. My squadron had spent almost a full year at sea during the gulf war. When we returned they assigned us another overseas slot to go over to Somolia for the Humanitarian mission. Luckily my time was up before then so I avoided that catastrophy. It seems like these places, like Somolia and Darfur are hopeless. What these places need is number 1, the rule of law. And number 2, education so they can contribute to the global economy. IMO..

Barb said...

Christianity wouldn't hurt -however, it hasn't lifted everyone out of poverty and dysfunction--But christian values in practice do lift people up.

But there's something quite different about a culture that really believes if you leave your bike out, it's really morally ok for someone else to take it --you were the dumby and deserve to have it stolen from you.

Lately the issue of "snitching" has come to public attention. I've said that for years --that there is a VALUE of MYOB and "do not tattle" --that works against justice and rule of law.

When one teaches "values" in school, they need to be careful to say that "loyalty" is to be tempered by "truth" and "justice."

Honesty is to be tempered by kindness --as in tact --as in you don't have to say everything you're thinking.

steve said...

"Christianity wouldn't hurt -however, it hasn't lifted everyone out of poverty and dysfunction--But christian values in practice do lift people up."

It's predominantly islamic in that part of the world, and I'm sure those people over there think that we here in the United States could use a "little more Islam". We need to take religion out of the equation of world peace. Religion is a tool of division, not unity. And faith, in my opinion, is something that is deeply personal. Let me be specific. Religion isn't the problem, it's the political institutionalization of religion that is the problem. Can't we just say that if God wants those people over there to be christians and not followers of islam, then HE will do something about it. But in the meantime, can't we have a little respect for one anothers PERSONAL beliefs?

If we continue to poke them in the eye with our beliefs, values, culture... Well then don't be suprised when they start to poke back.

microdot said...

"we need to take religion out of the equation of world peace....."
Thank you Steve.

Barb said...

Christianity can not be imposed as a solution to world peace. But Christianity in a culture is what makes peace possible. those principles of forgiveness and starting from today instead of getting even for yesterday.

The constant revenge cycle of those who don't have the Christian philosophy of forgiveness is tearing up the world. (Don't jump in here and say then what are we doing in Iraq? --It is good to go to Normandy to stop Hitler --and to go to Iraq to stop Sadam and his type.) If we COULD succeed as the policemen and sanitary engineers of the world, it wouldn't be a bad idea.

America the birthplace of aviation and electricity and the phone --and so many other inventions. Why?
OUr focus on progress in our free society. Our unity as a people in so many ways --unlike the tribalism that affects the African and Islamic world. That's what our friend from Kenya said --the tribalism and tribal customs of Kenya would prevent progress in that country.

Anonymous said...

you guys talking about christianity for peace ! I dont think that!
take a look back history. It is christinanity that slaughtered thousands of muslims and jews by crusades. it is christinaity by the time when practiced in europe so agressive people killing each other but now they rejected that christian belief and follow materialisc view which brings them to civilization. The greate problem of nowadays america is christianity that are harmored in some politics which invoke wars against other beliefs. if i tell u the truth America is near destruction unless christian fundamentalistis under its umberella is vanished. If u want humanity, just all bests for any one irrespective of religion.

Wealth is not test of truthfulness of a religion. World peace comes through only understandig eachother and dabating scholarly

Anonymous said...

You believe it or not the whole world chaos is due to fanatic imperialist christian ideologists in some western government that enjoy with suffering of people:

why Us
-support warlords in somalia why there was peace with islamic rules
-support ethiopia for killing of somalia
-support israel for destruction of Phaelitines
-invade most peaceful country ,Iraq,Afganistan

?
Because American leaders belive that develpoment of these nations harm America!!

microdot said...

I was not intending to comment on the history that created the conditions that are documented in the film.
I feel it is extremely important the film be seen as an educational tool for the Somalians who want to leave.
This is an extremely risky and probably deadly way to do it.
Very few of the people who attempt this passage are successful and the entrepreneurs who arrange and guide them are predators.
From what I gather, Daniel Grandclements film has been used to this purpose in Africa.
I agree whole heartedly with the comments above about the oppression owe the west ans the suppression of Africa.
Africa is the richest untapped land mass on the planet and the African people are being kept back from using thier land and resources to better thmeselves.
The oppressive, medieval mind set of the western and islamic religious world has done a lot to enable all of this..