We are manyBridport Arts Centre 18 June 2015

BR Rating ****

By Caitlin Appleton-Scott

 

“How?”

My first utterance on leaving the Bridport Arts Centre.

We Are Many is a documentary film about the largest protest event in human history, when people from 789 cities, in 72 different countries, protested that the choice to go to war in Iraq would not be in their names.

One of the most upsetting but powerful moments was when George W Bush banters with a delighted and laughing audience, about not finding weapons of mass destruction. Throughout the clip, the film cuts to videos of the injured, the dead, and the children; some of whom are likely to be among 1.25 million who were made orphans.

At first I was in awe…refreshed…willing to have confidence in humankind’s ability to act humanely. Watching footage of the crowds, you can’t help but feel delighted; one-and-a-half million people marched in London, three million in Spain; there were protests in France, South Korea, Italy, Russia, Japan, even Antarctica; it seemed impossible that so many voices could be ignored.

So I repeat, “How?” How did they choose to go to war? And why wasn’t the entire population of Britain on the streets?

Now we hit the second stage: hopelessness, self-pity, pity for everyone (although not pity for Blair and Bush.) We call ourselves a democracy, and yet with so many people protesting, we still went to war in Iraq.

Fortunately, I felt slightly more motivated by the end. Although slightly annoyed that the documentary finished with ocean-polluting, turtle-killing balloons being let go, I left feeling slightly more hopeful than devastated. For the first time in 231 years, the government chose not to pass a policy to go to war (in Syria). Maybe we are capable of learning from the past, and not prioritising monetary gains, although that seems unlikely.

As many people as possible should see this film, whatever their purpose – for self-development or for the marvellous Mark Rylance, as long as they are reminded of the fact that “ye are many – they are few”.