Unrest: Film

2015

Video HD. 47’ 36’’

Unrest explores themes of expropriation, exploitation and emancipation at three planes of reality. The first plane is the reality of those who experience expropriation. The second is the modes of exploitation by various actors. The third plane is the responses to the expropriation and exploitation of those seeking emancipation. The film explores these themes by examining Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port or APECO in the Casiguran region of the province of Aurora in the Philippines. Aurora, like much of the Philippines, or indeed much of the Third World is home to peasants, farm labourers, fishing communities and indigenous people and ruled by a small political clan supported by the G7 ruling groups. In the case of the Philippines the Angara clan rules the province and the country. The United States is a prominent political ally with military bases and economic interests in the Philippines.

APECO is a Special Economic Zone or SEZ. The SEZ is promoted as a haven for international and national investors to acquire and process natural resources and cheap labour for export of goods and services for consumers in the rich and influential countries.

APECO presents ‘postcards from the future’ as its rationale for forcibly acquiring land, removing indigenous people from their ancestral land and claiming exclusive rights to fish, forests and farms. Everywhere local political clans, national governments, Western governments and International Organisations like the World Bank and World Trade Organisation have a stake in the SEZs. SEZs are the pillars of a consumer economy based on global value chains and global apartheid between rich and poor, where the poor must give up what they have to service the rich nations. Not surprisingly there is unrest in the province.

Unrest zooms into the microcosm of life and people in the Casiguran region of Aurora province to highlight a macrocosmic problem of our times: land acquisitions for SEZs, military bases, mining, corporations, agribusiness, pleasure and leisure industries and financial speculators and the consequent displacement and impoverishment of millions of men and women around the world. A miniscule fraction of displaced people wash-up on European shores only to be subjected to abuse by the securitised states and the labour markets there. Unrest draws attention to those who stay back to resist displacement and impoverishment. Unrest captures the varied voices of resistance: the farmers and fisher folk of Casiguran, the indigenous people, the intellectuals, lawyers, NGOs and the political movements in the Philippines. Is there another way? What do those in Europe and America who say ‘not in my land’ to the destitute migrants have to say about those who struggle to stay on their lands, in their own homes and countries?