The Siege at Jadotville

“The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.” – PM Harold Macmillan, Capetown, February 1960

“It is a pity that we, who never believed in the use of force, must suffer for the blunders of little dictators and stupid military leaders.” – Commandant Patrick Quinlan, Jadotville, September 1961

I’m happy to pay my monthly subscription to an organization that helped fund the 2016 film, The Siege at Jadotville. What a gem of a film to stumble across and with which to be able to learn about the Irish battalion whose role in the UN war in Katanga had been moved to the dust-bin of record-keeping for over half a century while the other actions of the UN could be salved over. Thank you Netflix for bringing the early ‘peace-keeping’ actions of the UN back into the light. Thanks for helping with a film that works to explain the many sides in these ’60s skirmishes while not detracting from the drama that moves the film to a gut-wrenching conclusion.

This film opens with the assassination of Patrice Lumumba and then shift quickly back to Ireland and the lot of fresh soldiers about to be pressed into the ranks of UN troops. Time has served to eliminate the recollection of newspaper headlines that would be spoilers for a number of the film’s events. ‘Siege’ serves to bring to mind the depth of intrigue in which any of the UN’s military activities remained encumbered even to this day.

Highly recommended whether or not the early days of independence of the Belgian Congo are in your memory or are only known through historical record. The Siege at Jadotville justifies a Netflix subscription.

 

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