When filmmaker Angelo Loy wrote to offer his film to this blog, we all received an immense gift—the voices of and views from dozens of people in central Africa.
As you watch Tropic of Chaos you will come to know a vast region. You will meet people living on Lake Chad’s receding shores who invite you into their lives. They will tell how their communities once thrived together around a huge expanse of living water. They will show how climate change, colonization, illiteracy, and poverty have been erasing their music, rituals, languages, fields, herds, and ways of life. They will explain the rise of Boko Haram and the reasons that thousands must migrate.
I ask you to join with these communities by witnessing and hearing. While the situation they face is dire, you will also recognize the beauty and complexity of the land and of the people as they regroup and search for ways forward.
Loy has been a social documentary filmmaker and a participatory video facilitator for two decades. He and I have considered ways to support the men and their solar power project or the women who are finding new ways to feed their children. The small local projects are the ones, Loy points out, that are most likely to succeed. Global witness and connection are needed.
With immense thanks to all who agreed to be filmed, we offer you Tropic of Chaos. You may view the film at https://vimeo.com/333525345, using the password chad to view.
Consider responding to one of these queries (questions meant to be pondered and answered with humble care) after you have watched the documentary.
- Are there words you’d like to say to the people in the documentary? If there are, please send them to me (click on contact above) or post them in the comments below. I’ll gather them and ask Angelo to translate them and get them to at least some of the people he filmed.
- Angelo pointed out to me that all the voices in the film are from local people. He is aware that he himself is not native to that region. Are there elements that you think his outsider view affected? Would you suggest any corrections or changes?
- How do or how could the people in this documentary get their voices to the wider world?
- I am aware that seeing the difficulties that others face can be painful. What might make you feel that you have responded with respect and care to the people and other beings in this film? What might ease your own heart?
- What actions (or cessations of actions) might we take that could relieve the causes of these problems or move toward ecosystem adaptation?
I want also to call attention to Adenike Oladosu, a young climate activist from the Lake Chad area. You can read about her more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenike_Oladosu; there you will find links to more information.