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We Come as Friends 

Wednesday, Aug 26 2015

In case you thought that bad people weren't still doing bad things in Africa, Hubert Sauper's disturbing documentaryWe Come as Friendswill disabuse you of that notiontout de suite. Letting the people and events speak for themselves, Sauper documents the period during, before, and after South Sudan became its own, theoretically sovereign nation in 2011. But outsiders have frequently ravaged Africa for its resources, and there's no shortage of human horribleness on display, as when a Chinese oil company sets up shop with no concern for the damage it's causing to the water supply, or when a Texas company "buys" 600,000 hectares from a confused old man for $25,000. Speaking of the Lone Star state, Texan missionaries are determined to bring their particular vision of Christianity to what is already a predominantly Christian country; as one says without a hint of self-awareness, "The cultural things that we're trying to change are only the things that are against the Bible," including forcing villagers to wear clothes whether they want to or not. A local describes the British as having established the Constitution of Sudan with Bibles in their right hand and guns in their left, andWe Come as Friendssuggests that little has changed.


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Sherilyn Connelly


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