You know how “We Are Many,” a new documentary about the 2003 protests against the Iraq War, now playing in theatres, ends. The Stop the War movement, which began on a grassroots level but spread like wildfire to almost 800 cities worldwide, didn’t prevent the US/UK led shock and awe, but it did unite the world in a single cause.
Director Amir Amirani pieces together a compelling portrait of the anti-war crusade using a combination of archival news and web footage, bulked up with new talking head style interviews from academics like Noam Chomsky, politicians Clare Short to David Blunkett and actor Mark Rylance who suggests former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes. Novelist John le Carré, who marched in the million strong London parade, doubles down, calling the Iraq War, “the crime of the century.”
It’s a vividly presented doc, nine years in the making, that rehashes much of what we already know—there were no weapons of mass destruction, for instance—with eye-opening new revelations. It’s claimed that billionaire Richard Branson tried to arrange a summit meeting between Nelson Mandela and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Baghdad, to convince Saddam Hussein to go into hiding.
Amirani effectively displays the callous attitude of the warmongers in a montage that cuts between President George Bush joking about the lack of “weapons of mass destruction” to a guffawing audience and pictures of the effects of war. The powerful imagery leaves an indelible mark.
“We Are Many” takes us back to the days, post 9/11, when the likes of Blair and Bush dominated the news with hysterical claims of the world ending threats of WMDs, but ends on a more upbeat, we won’t get fooled again note.