While most sane people see peacefulness as a desirable state of human affairs, a survey of world history makes it depressingly clear that war is the norm. The United States tends to be insulated from this reality, not having fought a war on its own soil in 150 years. Yet, as we go about our daily business, much of the world is in the throes of armed conflict of varying levels of intensity.
A new documentary called The Fourth World War turns the spotlight on the millions of civilians across the globe for whom war is a part of their regular existence, one that's nearly as quotidian and intractable as stagnant wages, high gas prices and unemployment. Directors Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohen have edited together footage taken by citizens around the world, from Palestine to Iraq to Mexico to New York. To this material the filmmakers have added their own and made what journalist Naomi Klein called "a powerful, radical cry from the frontlines of the war on people. This film captures the spirit of resistance: It is as beautiful and global as humanity itself."
Rowley and Soohen are members of the New York-based Big Noise Tactical Media and founding members of the Independent Media Center (Indymedia). They brought important footage out of the 1999 WTO protest in Seattle and, more recently, Soohen spent two weeks pinned down by Israeli snipers inside the besieged Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. She had the only camera; her footage was confiscated by the Israeli army and sold to BBC.
The Fourth World War will be shown Thursday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. in room 111, Carroll Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill Campus. Filmmaker Jacqueline Soohen will be present to discuss the work.