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, engenders ecological and human catastrophes.

Tanzania, shore of Lake Victoria, late 50 years. It is in this previously preserved region that Westerners decided to introduce the "Nile perch", a fish much 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 has indeed eliminated the 200 species of fish originally found in Lake Victoria, leaving waters without oxygen and no living species. Fish species that fed on algae gradually disappeared, algae accumulated, died and caused oxygen levels to fall, while the Nile perch eventually fed on its own, 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 fishing produced 100.000 tons of fish, the Nile perch , in a few decades, transformed an old lake of 500 000 years into eutrophic waters.
In Mwanza, a riverside town of 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 carry not only fish: they arrive in Africa loaded with arms, sold by the Europeans to the protagonists of the guerrillas which rage in the region - Rwanda, Congo, Burundi ... - Hubert Sauper shows the incessant ballet of these planes, some of whom - cynicism - bring humanitarian aid to the UN refugee camps at the same time as they bring the weapons that will kill them. "Without being totally ignored, countless wars are often referred to as" tribal conflicts ", such as those in Rwanda and Burundi. The hidden causes of such disturbances are, in most cases, imperialist interests for natural resources, "said the author, who made a previous 1998 film about Rwanda.

"Capitalism has won"

At the same time, the filmmaker showed the arrival of a delegation from the European Commission, who had come to congratulate the local industrialists on the economic success of the Nile perch. 34 million euros were paid by Europe to develop this sector, whose production is intended only for Western consumers (2267 tons in 2004 for the only French market). The population that survives on the shores of the lake only feeds on fish that are unsuitable for sale. For this industry has not destroyed the ecological wealth of the region, it has also torn apart the local economic and social system, with local small-scale fishermen excluded from the Nile perch industry no longer having other species to be fished. "The eternal question of wondering which social and political structure is the best for the world seems to have found an answer," says the author. Capitalism has won. Future societies will be governed by a consumerist system perceived as "civilized" and "good". In the Darwinian sense, the "good system" has won. He won by convincing his enemies or eliminating them ". Unemployment, families destroyed, broken communities: In this implacable demonstration of biological and social Darwinism, Hubert Sauper shows, without miserabilism, the ravages of capitalism on human beings. Prostitution, alcoholism, the acute prevalence of AIDS, street children sniffing molten plastic from fish packaging ... the destruction of local life is indeed a Darwinesque nightmare. "I tried to transform the success story of a fish and the ephemeral" boom "around this" perfect "animal into an ironic and frightening allegory of the new world order, says 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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