In 2011, protest was certainly in the air, whether in the revolutionary demonstrations that shook the Arab world or the OWS movements that brought to light the injustices of global capitalism. What was the seed that brough forth such activist fervor? A new documentary, called “We Are Many,” first reported about on Salon, aims to chronicle the rise of a world protest movement that began on Feb 15, 2003, with its day of coordinated protests in opposition to the then-imminent Iraq War.
According to the project’s Kickstarter site, which has 3 days left to raise about $6,000 left of its $70,000 crowdsourcing goal, “We will demonstrate the remarkable links between the 2003 protests and the Arab Spring, as well as with the occupation of cities across Europe, and now in America too. The Occupy Movement in America and rest of the world is the latest chapter of one of the great untold stories of people power. Our cameras are there to capture the historic moments.”
The filmmakers claim to have an influential array of backers, including Ken Loach and Danny Glover, both listed as “patrons” of the project,” as well as Brian Eno, Jesse Jackson, Mark Rylance, Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, Tim Robbins and Oliver Stone.
A quote from Stone appears on the Kickstarter site: “The global protest against the Iraq War on 15 February 2003 was a pivotal moment in recent history, the consequences of which have gone unreported. Amir Amirani’s We Are Many chronicles the struggle to shift power from the old establishment to the new superpower that is global public opinion, through the prism of one historic day. I urge you to support this film in whatever way you can.”
In related news, there’s an interesting article from a news organization called Bikya Masr, called “Art and Revolution – Filming the Arab Spring,” which asks the question: “Why arts in general, and art in particular, is important for the revolution and what does it have to do with the Arab Spring?”
The article cites recent films such as Tunisia’s Jewish-Arab drama “Vivre Ici” (2009), Egyptian film-maker Maher Sabry’s homosexual story “All My Life” (2008), Lebanon’s “Help” (2008), about a delinquent, prostitute and her gay friend, and Maryam Keshavarz’s film “Circumstance” (2011), as helpful in fomenting and reflecting the revolution’s concerns.
“The art – and the films – that will tell the history of Arab Spring will not be Hollywood-style films scripting the lives of Mohamed Bouazizi and Khaled Said but rather, those films that will confront us with the real questions that can change and define life as we know it: What is our identity? How do we respond to questions of sexuality and gender? Can we lead a meaningful life without religion? What happens when the traditional values of the home break down?”