As you can see, Machetera’s translation shop got a little bogged down last week and she’s still struggling to recover. Luckily, Machetera’s mission is not one of pure translation but also of uncovering things that you might not ordinarily come across. Today, the jewel is a documentary by the Egyptian filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri, called Cuba, the African Odyssey and it begins with the story of Patrice Lumumba and the Congo. El-Tahri has captured some remarkable interviews, from the U.S. spooks (who look really spooky) the Russian foreign affairs officers, the Cubans, but most of all, the Africans who were there and talk about how it all went down, interwoven with spectacular archival footage. It is thrilling, infuriating, and inspiring, and a perfect example of something you’ll never see on U.S. television because it cuts too close to the bone.
Even if your Spanish needs improvement, the film is worth a look, because the subtitles and English interviews are good enough to get the point across. In fact, there’s something here for everyone who speaks English, Spanish, French, Russian or Portuguese.
Also, you’ll find certain familiarities. The secession of the resource-rich Katanga province from the Congo prior to Lumumba’s assassination, the U.N. army sent in to do the United States’ dirty work as a matter of policy sourcing from the Eisenhower administration…well, as Machetera has said before, the manual doesn’t change all that much.
The documentary is 190 minutes long, but separated into twelve parts for easier downloading. Enjoy!