This blog post was originally published on Weekend Notes.
As a part of the Environmental Film Festival, Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas is screening along with a panel discussion on Monday Oct 16, 2017 6:00pm – 8:15pm at ACMI, Federation Square.
Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas seemed an unusual title for this film, until I watched it. Not wanting to give it away, this is a quote from the film which comes at a time needed to fight for human rights, when all else felt lost.
This film was triggered by a seemingly trivial scene at the airport in Addis Ababa, six years ago. Waiting for his flight late at night, film director, Joakim Demmer, happened to see some tired workers at the tarmac who were loading food products on an airplane that was destined for Europe. At the same time, another team was busy unloading sacks with food aid from a second plane.
It took some time for Demmer to realise the real meaning of it, because it's rather strange. How can a country export food by the tonne, yet at the same time be classified as struck by famine, leaving millions of people dependent on food aid for their survival? This is a very good question and one that can only be answered by unveiling a much bigger story.
Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas is investigative journalism that will make your blood boil. It shows how human rights and the environment lose out to foreign investors. Around the world fertile farming land is becoming more valuable, it is being called "green gold", and it is the basis of Ethiopia's future.
Hoping for export revenues, the Ethiopian government leases millions of hectares of allegedly unused land to foreign investors. This dream of prosperity however, has come at a huge social cost, with Ethiopia experiencing some of the most massive forced evictions in modern history, the lost livelihoods of small farmers, harsh repression and violent protest. Shockingly, contributing to this disaster are the EU, the World Bank and DFID, providing billions of dollars in development money.
No one is taking accountability for this and on a journey to uncover the truth, we meet investors, development bureaucrats, persecuted journalists, struggling environmentalists and small farmers deprived of their land, whose testimony will leave you shocked and demanding change.
Following the film there will be a panel discussion. The panel consists of:
Karl Fitzgerald, Project Director of Prosper Australia. He produced the documentary Real Estate 4 Ransom and runs the weekly Renegade Economists radio show/ podcast. Karl's research work includes directing the Speculative Vacancies report into empty housing in Melbourne.
Soreti Kadir is an Oromo poet and writer, amongst many other things, based on unceded Kulin Nations land. Her method of story and truth telling is riveting, leaving audiences in an abyss of empowerment and contemplation. What she speaks and writes on evolves with her and her experience but is committed to focus on questions, identity, justice, equity and freedoms.
Daisy Gardener is the Sustainable Food Advocacy Lead with Oxfam Australia. She works to influence the policy and practice of the Australian Government, financial institutions and investors in relation to small scale producers, agriculture, forests, land and human rights. She has been focused on corporate accountability for the past twelve years with a particular focus on women workers in international supply chains. She has worked in Indonesia, Myanmar and the Solomon Islands on land rights, climate change and workers' rights.
This event is also screening an Australian short prior, Elle Marsh's One Tree Hill.
Tickets are available for $20 or $16 concession. You can purchase them from ACMI.
You can find out more about other screenings at the Environmental Film Festival here.