The Empire in Africa

2006, History  -   53 Comments
Ratings: 8.55/10 from 44 users.

The Empire in AfricaLocated in Western Africa, Sierra Leone is a nation caught in a struggle between extreme poverty and extreme wealth; while diamond mining provides the bulk of the country's income, most of its people struggle to survive by raising their own crops.

In 1991, a civil war broke out in Sierra Leone, with a rebel group called the Revolutionary United Front taking on government forces in a bid for a more just economy and an end to hunger.

However, the forces behind Sierra Leone's mining interests were more interested in protecting their investments than changing the economy, and both the nation's military and the RUF fell into indiscriminate violence against all parties involved.

In all, 70,000 people lost their lives in the nearly 15 years of fighting, while millions lost their homes and many thousands were maimed.

Filmmaker Philippe Diaz took a camera crew into Sierra Leone in the midst of the fighting to document the bloodshed and tell the story behind the brutality;

The Empire in Africa is the result, which incorporates interviews with politicians and military figures with footage of the mayhem. The Empire in Africa received its North American premiere at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival.

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53 Comments / User Reviews

  1. geamala

    Ok I'm completely confused. What a fuct up country. This is a sad legacy of colonial exploitation.

  2. James Green
  3. James Green

    Sadly, this is the position that the super rich would have all mankind; from the looks of it they are about to achieve their goals

  4. Xercès Des Stèles
  5. Xercès Des Stèles

    i think if you decide to watch this doc you must be warned, skipping the 57th minute of this documentary is a good idea for light hearted persons.

    i have seen disturbing pictures before and you might want to be prepared (or skip 57:00 to 57:10 cause it happens very gratuitusly here

  6. PavolvsBitch
  7. PavolvsBitch

    we know that the diamond mines are owned by Oppehneimers, De Beers who are still in strategic positons today and playing the same old card in splintering ways such as Coltan. I won't watch this as it's more of the same trauma without end or solution. Whatever solutions are suggested by the same buggers are going to cause worse and have further reach.

    The planet is being strip mined and traded on the inner circle with the 'human resources' recycled, terminated or worked to death under Sustainability NaziNuSpeak.

  8. fonbindelhofas
  9. fonbindelhofas

    one of the most brutual docs iv seen, all the truth in here. thanks uk, us, and un for genocide once again.

  10. fonbindelhofas
  11. fonbindelhofas

    keep seeing the scene with a boy snached by "peacekeepers"... poor child have died a horible death, no qestion in my mind...

  12. vvindred
  13. vvindred

    i totally agree !!!

  14. vvindred
  15. vvindred

    there are no real solutions:(

  16. Guest
  17. Guest

    I'll pass thank you.

  18. Sheng Slrbl
  19. Sheng Slrbl

    Very disturbing , yet its provocative play of events entices people to think about everything thats happening in the world. How the media manipulates international politics. How democracy is a failed concept if the voters have no education,and is just a tool of oppression used to enforce modern slavery. The people own nothing. No government can afford to seize national resources back for its people so it holds no power whatsoever. Shame on britain who will close its eyes for any atrocities as long as their interests are being defended and secured and the money keeps rolling in...

    We should be ashamed as a so called civilisation.
    I don`t know who said it, but there`s an old saying.

    "You can measure a countries wealth by looking at how the poorest people live and get treated"

  20. Jeremy
  21. Jeremy

    Make sure to buy lots of diamonds for your american women, to help make sure the militants in Africa can continue their reign of terror. If a woman ever asks me for a precious mineral or diamonds, it's gonna be "sure babe, go dig it up and you'll have earned yourself a ring." seriously women are pathetic, this information has been available for years, and if you ask any of them wether they will be purchasing a diamond ring, and even tell them why they shouldn't, they still will, seriously demented thought patterns. My own ignorant female cousin once told me, "it's ok, it's from zales" !!!!!!!!! FK u!

  22. Sieben Stern
  23. Sieben Stern

    a little over simplified to just blame women - don't you think? it's not your cousin that's the only ignorant one...

  24. davy11
  25. davy11

    i watched this a few months ago. its very graphic. some people just have no respect for life

  26. shane scallan
  27. shane scallan

    fantastic documentary... a real slap in the face that has woke me up as to the brutality conducted in the name of profit and 'economic development'

    Africa’s wounds lie deep but it has to be remembered that 'peace' does not come easy. Europe has struggled for centuries against its economic/imperial masters, only when the peasant class could share in the wealth could they afford 'say' in parliament etc and work towards the freedoms we know of today.

    Another point that I have often overlooked is just how undereducated African people are on matters of government, politics, society let alone psychology or philosophy. While we in our comforts have the luxury of time to sit around reading books, watching docs or discussing theoretical approaches... these poor people are constantly fending for their lives.

    We hope for better.

  28. Sieben Stern
  29. Sieben Stern

    27 mins - what she says is very relevant - that working within the system won't do as much as correcting the system itself. this is true for the banking sector in the west and resource management in africa.

    there is an amazing about of cruelty in this docu, and I can only think of it as misplaced - they're killing each other while debeers laughs all the way to the bank.

  30. Al Corrupt
  31. Al Corrupt

    Hey KONY 2012 douchebags - this is a real documentary about the issues in Africa.
    It's a little complex, no simple answers.
    Watch and learn.
    Still want to send guns to Africa?

  32. tomregit
  33. tomregit

    I'M NOT AN AMERICAN. Don't blame Americans for this. It's an international problem. Do you think Japanese, Indian, Chinese, British, Dutch, Russian, Brazilian, Canadian, Italian, Irish, Fijian, Philipino, Australian, and whatever you may be, are not part of this?

    Take some responsibility and grow up Jeremy.

  34. tomregit
  35. tomregit

    OK, a self righteous rant directed to no one in particular. Hope you feel better with your self proclaimed superiority. You sofa king smart!

  36. dewflirt
  37. dewflirt

    I must be a total wuss, got to 30 minutes and had to stop. Another place we've stomped all over without a second thought and created so much ill feeling that the people war amongst themselves. The legacy of greed.

  38. drinker69
  39. drinker69

    There is so much information as to the causes of these conflicts (politics, economy, greed, resources, straight up evil etc) that it makes your head spin how whatever it is gets so out of hand people end up killing one another, as shown graphically in this documentary. One thing I do know is you have to be one strong person to actually go there while this is going on let alone videotape it. I really didn't like when they stripped the kid naked in the back of the truck and beat him. Poor kid. I mean seriously, what the f--k.

  40. brutusaurio
  41. brutusaurio

    Wow!!! very good documentary.
    "International laws are enforced only when they serve the interests of International Power".
    Too many economic interests.

  42. John McDonald
  43. John McDonald

    I swear to god Trayvaughn or however his name was will be infamous, like the West Mempis 3, or those workers that got shot at that union protest.

  44. Bryan Cooper
  45. Bryan Cooper

    If he's in the army, he only appears to be saying 'there is someone else thinking in there'.

  46. Alexander Olsson
  47. Alexander Olsson

    This really makes me so sad/mad and disappointed in the humanity of people...The Profit motive is destroying Africa and all other countries, though faster in Africa...The true extent of UN atrocity's is probably more far reaching then I can even imagine in my wildest dreams...

  48. MRpaul46
  49. MRpaul46

    The documentary was so informative. I’m ashamed to be a human being. My heart goes out to all of the innocent people being treated as they do. That poor child in the back of the truck shocked me more than anything, He was probable tortured and killed. What upsets me just as much is my own government contributed to these atrocities all for the sake of MONEY. More people need to see this sort of thing, the more public it becomes the more governments will have to do something… So so sad world we live in.

  50. nick durrant
  51. nick durrant

    WARNING: this is very very very graphic. Like...people being shot from close range, vultures picking at corpses, bodies still smoldering and aflame, children being beaten and tortured. There are no 'feel good' moments, this is devastating and haunting.

  52. nick durrant
  53. nick durrant

    Having said that, do not take everything you gleam from the film as fact. The muddled narrative and gratuitous shots take a lot away from the message (which itself seems fairly subjective). Read as much as possible about Sierra Leone before you watch this film and judge appropriately.


    this is very graphic. the warning at the top doesn't say enough.
    some of the most disturbing scenes are trumped by the scenes of the UN representatives calmly reading prepared statements word for word with no emotion. ******* disgusting.

  56. Salim Ibrahim Sheriff
  57. Salim Ibrahim Sheriff

    Harrowing relistic movie depicting a nation in crisis, hope we would learn a hard lesson from it as a prize for democracy.

  58. bluetortilla
  59. bluetortilla

    I could not watch this. I think there is a line between evoking empathy and bludgeoning the viewer into outright horror, and this documentary despite its merits crosses well over that line. I had to turn it off in tears. What a mess we have made of ourselves. How can we answer to it?

  60. Aidan Skillings
  61. Aidan Skillings

    Just don't generalize when it comes to government. Sure, a lot of bad people gravitate to those kinds of positions, but there are some good people in government too. It's like you said, we just need to make sure people know these kinds of things, if the government can't keep itself in check the people should.

  62. bluetortilla
  63. bluetortilla

    No doubt that your description of the situation (sans your last grim idea of a good 'solution') is true but to expand the argument, it is absolutely clear to me that modern man can no longer maintain the "luxury" of war and our mountain heaps of weapons need to be flushed down the toilet. But to respond, I might counter that the briefest survey of war in the last century reveals the same savagery on every side, democratic or fascist, imperial or communist, tribal or colonial…If we are to survive, we must invest our resources elsewhere- into more meaningful and healthy pursuits. If we don't, we not only will see this brutal slaughter of human against human continue endlessly and needlessly, but we also know very well we are coming to an age of unlimited nuclear warhead power in an arena of dwindling energy resources and heightening political tensions (classic World War tensions). Everyone knows this, no one talks about it much though despite the gravity of the crisis facing us.
    To go back to the original topic, the harming and killing of children and innocent civilians in this day and age is unacceptable. Nevertheless it has been and continues to be carried out in different forms, some of them highly sophisticated and modern as in Auschwitz, others more sporadic. Here they did a lot of it with hatchets. In Rwanda they did most of the murder with machetes. Don't these weapons fit into your category of 'rocks and spears?'

  64. Benji Beats O'Brien
  65. Benji Beats O'Brien

    Those are all Gods people my friend. Treat them as your brothers and sisters because they quite literally are if you were educated enough to know that fact.

  66. Benji Beats O'Brien
  67. Benji Beats O'Brien

    They need American, European, Asian ambassadors to teach them, they also need to send more of their young to these places for a proper education.

  68. Mediaskop
  69. Mediaskop

    amazed by all the ignorant ppl commenting on this doc...THIS is the product of political decisions made under the UN flag, NOT the different tribes in sierra leone!

    united nations my ass...

  70. Mediaskop
  71. Mediaskop

    gd luck on that one.. "give them back spears and rocks" mean the rocks on your rings or around your necklace? so ignorant its unbelievable

  72. Seashellsandmermaids1
  73. Seashellsandmermaids1

    are you kidding me? the reason there is so much tragedy in Africa is because of the foreign (euorpean) dominance in their countries trying to strike it rich on natural resources that should belong to the african people

  74. Seashellsandmermaids1
  75. Seashellsandmermaids1

    you are right...this is the price for european colonialization. what a tragedy the things we have done to other countries

  76. Samira_m_omar
  77. Samira_m_omar

    You're an id**t and you shouldnt not be allowed to comment.
    The situation in the country is far deeper than them simply being a trible nation. And dont get me started on that 'Give them back their spears and rocks' comment... Ur clearly joking. (i refuse to take that comment serious.)

    Anyways i only wanted to comment to ask if anyone can tell me the name of the song that was playing throughout the doc please. Thanks

  78. bringmeredwine
  79. bringmeredwine

    By the 53rd minute, I couldn't watch this doc any more.
    I have known about the conditions in Sierre Leon for many years, but that didn't make the brutal images any easier to watch.
    There is a continual mish-mash of who did what to whom and which group did what,
    It all boiled down to the haves and the have nots; the continual interference of the UN and the UK and Nigeria; the Junta and the RUF;
    and the ensuing misery and suffering of the civilians who got in the way.
    So, so sad.
    No end in sight till everyone's dead and the rich and powerful governments pave the way for the industrialists to take whatever mines are left.
    I don't recommend this doc if you're already feeling depressed!

  80. CRISTI
  81. CRISTI

    At one moment one man says in the film''I dont know what is the Government'' why don't they just live us alone. Life is very hard as it is but imagine that people from another part of the world take advantage of you for their own interest and this is taking place over large periods of time since the colonies first enslaved the people from these land. Imagine that those who have interest have absolutely no respect for human life as you can see from the brutal crimes and tortures they inflict on other human beings who have the ability to love, fell pain and have dreams. These people live among us and control our lives, if we are at their mercy there will be the end for us.

  82. John Martin Phelan
  83. John Martin Phelan

    This is a slightly disingenuous documentary which seems to concentrate on atrocities committed by ECOMOG - & they certainly did commit atrocities - while virtually skipping over the far more extensive atrocities of the RUF & their cohorts.Foday Sankoh was a pretty barbaric individual who continually breached agreements he signed & kept the conflict going - again something one would never glean from this documentary.By stating that Sankoh died of 'unknown causes' may play well to the conspiracy concept - but he in fact died of complications following a stroke.

  84. jameshand
  85. jameshand

    us europeans have robbed most of the the world...

  86. Sherman Monro
  87. Sherman Monro

    well said Jeremy. thank you.

  88. Sherman Monro
  89. Sherman Monro

    UN is nothing but a tool for further eneslaving poor and less fortunate and plundering the resources of this planet for rich to live luxurious lives in this world. the hell with UN.

    this planet must be annihilated though guilty and innocent both go, but unfortunately, that's the only solution to these atrocities since GREEDY elite will never give up and poor is kept poor and powerless for ever. so, i hope the next coming asteroid towards us is about the size of the moon and comes head on to collision with Earth; and then may be after another million years or so a brand new planet is born and there come decent humans to live on it.

  90. Africaatheart
  91. Africaatheart

    I lived in Sierra Leone between 1990 and 1995 and watching this documentary is truely heart wrenching. Such a beautiful country with beautiful people devastated the way it has been. Unfortunately, the events of the civil war haven't had deserved media attention with most people not even knowing that Sierra leone exists as a country. We need to let this war and the others that have pre and proceeded it be a lesson to humanity. I fear, however, that human greed will prevail resulting in further bloodshed in the world.

  92. Stephenie Molise Hernandez
  93. Stephenie Molise Hernandez

    How can I find out what happened to that poor little boy who was stripped and tortured on the back of the truck? That image will haunt me for the rest of my life. As I watched, my entire body began to tremble, my heart started racing, and I broke down sobbing. I could actually feel this sweet boy's terror. I wish I could reach out to him.

  94. Jabranpin
  95. Jabranpin

    Europeans and their puppets in African governments shall one day pay for all the sins they have committed to Africans.

  96. Alex
  97. Alex

    It is unnatural to say how saddening this situation is a whole, not just for Sierra Leone, but for the rest of humanity this is not the only country suffering and getting sucked dry by the imperial society in the world. Unfortunately for all of us we too are part of this problem, while we sit back in commercial america, enjoying our gluttony and imaginary illusions of beauty, success and power...we the suckers. We add to the fact that we are buying products exported from those countries to us, buying the american dream...that are the exploitation of other human beings.

    The necessity for morality has been far gone shot, our depravation as a society who live for more wealthy than 80% percent of the world, we sit and complain about how wrong our false expectations and needs are not being met in this country. How I don't have the best car, or the best house or the best mate...falling into the pit fall medication that is slowly but surely killing the inside, hence-fore rotting our core as individuals resulting in the antithesis of what God intended for us in in the beginning. We are to far gone in our rebellion, sheep gone stray by our own illusions...buying into our own self worship. All these destructive "ME" mentality, people as a whole are beautiful creations of the Almighty, it is our responsibility to die to ourselves and think about others for once. This endless cycle of destruction will not end until the day comes, that day we will all see our foolishness, that day when the Lord comes back.

  98. J V.
  99. J V.

    My goodness, was this documentaries hard to stomach.

  100. Alsene
  101. Alsene

    After this documentary, the concept of morality, mercy and the beauty in humanity as God's creation is forever distorted in my heart. Only God, the almighty will bring justice to these people. I am appalled by the international community as a whole, and ashamed to be part of the human creation as of this moment.

  102. Cary
  103. Cary

    Most of these people are religious. Humanity got ourselves into this mess, only we can get ourselves out. It's easy to blame religion (or lack of religion) as the reason why this is so screwed up. There are so many factors at play here that only an in depth analysis of the problems they face, and a set of actions to counter these problems, will lift them out of poverty.

  104. Petra I. Hernandez
  105. Petra I. Hernandez

    Thank God for the Internet we know that these things are happening. From Kowledge to action. What is being done about this brutality? Makes me sick. Worst" man's inhumanity to man" I've ever seen. GOD and whoever else has Power, Do Something about this situation and, as someone above said, before it happens to all of us. The Powerful would like that.

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