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The Peacekeepers

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 10, 2015

We’ve talked about this elsewhere on this website. This is another adult movie, and another kind of adult movie. Once again, that doesn’t have anything to do with explicit or inappropriate content (though there are a few, brief, heart-rending images that demonstrate the dire consequences of their perfidy and our apathy). It means that issues are complex, that it takes some time and detailing to explore and unravel them, and that time and detailing can actually lead us to a measure of clarity and understanding. As you might expect from an adult movie like this, situations and sequences of events are set forth in a very calm, careful way, to a degree that the filmmakers actually seem to be trying to avoid excitement. This might seem to be kind of counterproductive, until you consider that this careful strategy might possibly clear the room of knuckleheads, leaving the decent and intelligent and conscientious to gather information, and then get the work done.

The Peacekeepers is definitely propaganda, by the way. But it’s a propaganda of the most honourable, substantial sort. They think the UN is necessary. They know that it has been ineffective. They go so far as to detail the causes and consequences of that ineffectiveness. As they do so they also convincingly demonstrate how important the UN and its various missions are, notwithstanding or including its limitations. This organization does necessary things that would not otherwise be done. How much worse would things be without them? This is not Goebbels, or Stalin, or even the LDS audio-visual department. Come, let us reason together.

Less obviously, and of a more particular interest, this Canadian produced film that doesn’t have any Canadians in it is still, quietly and directly, about Canada. It is saying that this is our place and purpose in the international community. And whether the conversation be international, or more local and particular, this is the manner in which we would like to conduct that conversation, this is the quiet, modest, informed, faithful way that we would like to operate in the world. This heroic American lady diplomat makes all of this flesh, functioning as a real person and a symbol both. This is admirably, exemplarily non-partisan. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Even when it or she is from the US.

Finally, The Peacekeepers really demonstrates how profoundly interdependent we are. Our hearts go out, but really, how important is this little village. How important is this region in the eastern part of the Congo? Central Africa? The entire continent? Oh… We all agree that Donne’s no man is an island is a beautiful sentiment. After the important things outlined in the previous paragraphs, it comes down to this. Donne’s idea is more than a pretty, poetic sentiment. It’s a matter of life and death, theirs and ours.