Jacob Mchangama is the founder and executive director of Justitia, a Copenhagen based think tank focusing on human rights and the rule of law. He has written and commented extensively on human rights in international media including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal Europe & MSNBC. Watch the DOX:TV interview with Jacob here. 

Jacob recommends …

 

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Charlie

It is a both a very touching, funny and tough depiction of the french satire-magazine Charlie Hebdo, that became world famous, when brothers Kouachi executed 8 of the workers on the 7th of January 2015. The documentary is a flaming defense for Charlie Hebdo and the leading drawers and the editor behind the magazine and Je Suis Charlie is therefore not a film that tries to give a nuanced picture or a critical portrait of the main characters and there is not given any time for the many critical voices against the magazine among konservative catholics, islamics and the insult-hungry multiculturalists. The strongest and most touching scenes in the film are, when the survivors minutely and in great detail tells about what happened on the 7th of January. You really feel the survivors bitterness towards how the omnipresent “Je Suis Charlie” effect quickly turned into finger pointing at the magazine and the workers; in certain circles they were accused of being racist, islamophobic and to be at fault for the terrorist attack themselves. In the film we are also still in the days after the attack, where the workers try to cope with grief and still keep drawing. The involvement of private films where the late Charb, Tignous, Wolinski, Cabu and more are seen singing dirty songs, making practical jokes with each other and discussing politics are also very good and seems to ease up on the heavy mood of the film.

Read more about the film here. 

 

(T)error

(T)error

In The American documentary (T)error, you follow “Shariff”, a former member of Black Panthers who, after several convictions, now tries to take care of his family by posing as an FBI informant. His job is to infiltrate allegedly radicalised environments and make potential terrorists give themselves away. We follow one of his jobs in Pittsburgh, where he is trying to make a suspect, who has made positive writings and expressed ties to fundamentalism on social media, confess and express a will to travel to a terrorist training camp. It becomes clear rather fast that Shariff is very marked by his past and his work as an informant, where he has put friends in jail and is therefore excluded from the muslim community. The most important problem of the film is the exhibiting of how abstract and not very concrete statements to the informant can be enough to be convicted in the United States. The film also takes a dramatic change in loyalties, when the suspect writes on Facebook that he suspects that the FBI is out to get him. The film crew interviews the suspect without Shariff knowing it and without the suspect knowing that the crew is also following Shariff. Hereby we get direct insider knowledge on how the FBI pressures Shariff to make extra contact to the suspect, even though it does not work, and how it affects the suspect who tries to distance himself from Shariff. The film shows very clearly that the rule of law is nowhere to be found for suspected terrorists and how freedom of speech is put under pressure in the battle to convict alleged terrorists.

Read more about the film here.

 

Muhammad - the messenger

Muhammad: The Messenger of God

This Iranian film about the prophet of Islam has been expected in a while and even though you can only see a trailer at the moment, I want to recommend the film, because it is going to be extremely interesting to see, how a country like Iran – Who made a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses’ showing of Mohammed and was one of the hardliners during the Muhammed crisis – will allow Muhammed to be depicted. It is also interesting that the film is produced by shia muslims and has already been condemned by sunni muslim scholars in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which shows that the question of blasphemy and religious feelings is not only relevant for Western media, but also for a technocratic and islamic state as Iran.

Read more about the film here.

Jacob Jomo Danstrøm Mchangama | Founder & CEO of Justitia