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AGE: College, Adult, A.P. Time: Approx. 50 Min. Ea. DVDs: 19
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Political assassinations have forever changed the course of world history. This collection of acclaimed documentaries looks at twenty of the best known assassinations and provides little know facts and insight to help better understand the geo-political situations that led to their untimely deaths. Witness interviews, re-enactments and, in many cases, voices from the grave, help bring to light the reasons why these outspoken leaders risked their lives in the face of such extreme opposition.

Robert F. Kennedy, The End Of An American Dream
A film by Yoash TATARI
It was June 1968 and senator Bobby Kennedy was running for President of the United States. The people adored him, but the political establishment and big business saw him as a threat. He had championed the poor and exploited, and wanted America out of the Vietnam War: so he had made many enemies, among them the Mafia and CIA. As he was celebrating victory in the California Presidential Primary in Los Angeles, he stopped by the kitchens of the Ambassador Hotel to thank the staff. That is where and Arab immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, shot him down.

Martin Luther King, Death In Memphis
A film by Thomas GIEFER
In April 1968, Martin Luther King was at the height of his popularity. He had mobilized the black masses of America against the apartheid and won Civil Rights concessions which made Blacks and Whites equal in the eyes of the Law. With the assassination of President Kennedy, King lost a vital ally and by taking a stand against America's intervention in Vietnam, he finally lost all sympathy at the White House, turning Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson into an enemy. On the afternoon of April 4th 1968, at his Memphis hotel, the crossed sights of a sharpshooter were centered on his head. He was assassinated with a perfect shot. The search immediately centered on James Earl Ray, an escaped prisoner convicted for armed robbery. But there are many that insist Ray was just the fall-guy.

Roberto Calvi And The Vatican: The Murder Of God's Banker
A film by Heribert BLONDIAU and Udo GUMPEL
For many years Roberto Calvi was the Vatican front man in a secret operation to transfer money to Poland, supporting the Solidarity trade union in its anti-communist uprising. The Vatican was allied with America's Reagan administration, which was also active in bringing about the downfall of the Soviet Empire. But suddenly a tax inspection revealed a huge hole in Calvi’s accounts and before he could tell his side of the story he was found hanging beneath the arches of Blackfriars Bridge in London. Hours before his hanging, he had warned the Vatican that he intended to save the his skin by telling the Italian Tax Commission that he had used the money for the Pope's secret operations. However, Roberto Calvi did not live to talk.

Lord Louis Mountbatten, Bloody Monday
A film by Hans-Rudiger MINOW
Glassybourne House at Mullaghmore in Ireland was the favorite holiday spot of Lord Louis Mountbatten, cousin to the Queen of England, celebrated navel hero, last Viceroy of India, the man who had supported of Mahatma Gandhi's bid for independence. He thought he was safe there, believing that he was well loved locally, even though the Irish Republican Army was attacking prime targets in order to force Britain out of Northern Ireland. On the morning of August 27th 1979 Lord Mountbatten's boat was blown to pieces by an IRA bomb, killing him and three others. The IRA had not finished their operations in the area that day, and what would later become known as Bloody Monday, the same IRA group would hours later kill 18 British soldiers at Warren Point.

Dag Hammarskjold: Night Flight To Death

A film by Hans-Rudiger MINOW
During the Cold War, the power blocs of the East and West vied to control the vast mineral resources of the former Belgian colony, the Congo. The CIA working with the British, French and Belgian Secret Services feared that this newly independent African country had fallen under Soviet influence. So the Secret Services funded a rebellion in the mineral-rich province of Katanga-and installed a puppet President, Moishe Tchombe, who's first act was to call back Belgian troops and fund an army of white mercenaries to fight the central government. Dag Hammarskjold, the Swedish Secretary General of the United Nations flew there to prove the United Nations could be a mediating, independent force in such conflicts. Still in its infancy, the ideals of the UN untried, Dag Hammarskjold-the poet, philosopher, idealist-sent in UN troops to the quell the rebellion. For the first time in the UN's history, blue helmets were engaged in military action. But the UN's western delegates were infuriated by Hammarskjold's initiative, and on his way to a ceasefire conference, his plane would crash in the African bush in mysterious circumstances.

Aldo Moro, Death in Rome
A film by Michael BUSSE and Rosa Maria BOBBI
Early 1978, the President of the leading Italian Christian Democratic Party, Aldo Moro, was working on an historic compromise that would allow communists in a coalition government. He had even persuaded Communist Party leader Enrico Berlinger to cut ties with Moscow in return for a role in government. It was a new vision of democratic power-sharing which infuriated the Establishment.  On May 9, 1978, in the center of Rome, police discover his body in the trunk of a Renault 4. He had been shot in the heart eleven times after being kidnapped by terrorists of the Extreme Left-The Red Brigades. Today many believe that the killing was really the work of an unholy alliance of conspirators- the Italian Secret Service, right wing politicians and the CIA- who had tricked the terrorist group Red Brigades into doing their dirty work.

Patrice Lumumba: Assassination Colonial Style

A film by Thomas GIEFER
Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Congo, was a hero to his fellow Africans but a communist threat to the West. The West believed Lumumba was pro-soviet and would open the door to communist control of this mineral rich region. Within months of becoming Prime Minister in 1960, Lumumba was ousted in a military coup, inspired by the West. It was led by a turncoat colonel, Desire Mobutu who would be Congo's military dictator for the next thirty years. In early December 1960, Patrice Lumumba and two of his Ministers were killed by members of the Belgian Secret Service. None of the murderers, or the men behind them, has ever been indicted, but Lumumba's voice still echoes throughout Africa today.

Anwar al Sadat, Death Of A Pharaoh
A film by Wilfried HUISMAN
Anwar al Sadat, successor of Nasser and the President of Egypt, was the first Arab leader to try and break the wall of enmity between two peoples who laid claim to the same land. He was the first Arab leader to set foot on Israel's soil. He made an historic speech in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, and offered peace to the Arab's long standing enemy. But fundamentalist Lt. Khaled Islambouli and his fellow conspirators of the revolutionary Islamic brotherhood "Gamat Islamaya" saw him as a traitor. He became their target as they carried the Koran along with their automatic weapons, and set out to murder him during a military parade on the morning of October 6th 1981.

Olof Palme, Murder Mystery in Stockholm
A film by Burkhard NAGEL and Klaus D. KAPP
A Social-Democrat and a true man of the people, Sweden's Prime Minister, Olof Plame, detested the rules and regulations that came with his rank as much as he hated the East-West split born of the Cold War. A troublemaker on the international political scene, he was as uncompromising with the White House as he was with the Kremlin, and a passionate spokesman for the Third World. Although he befriended many of the world's intellectuals, his startling viewpoints also made him many fanatical enemies. On February 28, 1986, at exactly 11:21 pm, in the heart of Stockholm, Palme was shot dead as he walked home without bodyguards, as was his habit. Today the murder remains unexplained. The police investigation has followed all leads: CIA, KGB, far-right international organizations, among others.

Mahatma Gandhi, A Death For Peace
A film by Arnaud MANDAGARAN
On January 20, 1948, Gopal Godse, the man who promised himself to eliminate Gandhi ridicules himself in a failed attempt to kill the mahatma. However, only ten days later, his brother Nathuram will put an end to the life of the Father of the Partition of the Indian Empire into India and Pakistan. Both brothers were member of an extreme-right organization, and even if the politically correct branch of these nationalistic Hindus, the Grand Party of Indian People, displays a much more moderate attitude, it continues to look at Gandhi with ambivalent feelings. As to Pakistan, the whole world has understood the importance of which one has to consider the Muslim movements in this region. And since both countries have access to nuclear weapons, it seems very important to monitor the potential Hindu-Muslim confrontations.

Jorge Gaitan, The End Of A Colombian Dream
A film by Maria VALENCIA and Michel NOLL
On April 9, 1948, despite strong social tensions, US general Marshall opens the 9th Pan-American conference in Colombia's capital Bogota. Jorge Gaitan, the popular opposition leader and fierce opponent to the Colombian oligarchy, is shot dead. The aftermath? Two days of riots that left 5,000 dead and a guerrilla war that we still know today.

Pim Fortuyn, Death Of A Dutch Populist
A film by Peter HERCOMBE and Michel NOLL
Pim Fortuyn was a political outsider and reformist poised to be the next Prime Minister of Holland when on May 6, 2002 he was gunned down in the street after leaving a live radio interview. Only three months earlier this wealthy businessman was considered an outsider, but he had soared in the polls and was now tipped to be the next Prime Minister of Holland. The country, in a state of shock, elects Fortuyn's party in the election with around one-third of votes. Today there is still unease that the killing may not simply have been the act of a lone gunman, but that he had responded to the climate of hate whipped up by the political establishment who were reluctant to give up their long-held grip on power. What was the real attitude of the Establishment and of the Media in Pim Fortuyn's meteoric  ascension?

Thomas Sankara & French Africa: Fratricide In Africa
A film by Didier MAURO and Thuy-Thien HO
Burkina Faso, Africa, October 15, 1987. Automatic gunfire breaks the evening's silence and kills President Thomas Sankara. Would the assassins have been sent by his brothers in arms, Blaise Compaore, with whom he had launched the Marxist Revolution a few years before? His main argument was also one of the assassins: Sankara had lost all sense of reality and was leading the Revolution into chaos. It needed to be "rectified". But who really was behind his "rectification" and why? Dark forces from France, the former colonial power, envying neighbor states, wealthy business interests?

Felix Moumie: Death In Geneva
A film by Frank GARBELY
For the French government, Cameroon had a particular strategic importance. Paris was afraid that in case of defeat against Moumie's UPC, a left wing movement of independence, France would not only lose Cameroon, but also other colonies in Western and Central Africa. Paris was convinced that it was in Cameroon it was going to win or lose the Cold War and Africa. For twenty-five years, in an attempt to "save the country of communism", French authorities committed horrible war crimes: more than 300,000 persons were deported, tortured and executed. Felix Moumie had to disappear and his movement had to be eliminated-at any price. This documentary looks critically at France's dirty war in Cameroon as well as the reaction to Moumie's death by both French and Swiss authorities.

Salvador Allende, Coup D'etat in Santiago

A film by Michael TRABITZSCH
On September 11, 1973 General Pinochet leads a military coup d'etat against democratically elected President Salvador Allende. Allende decides to barricade himself with a few loyal friends and his guards in LA MONEDA, the presidential Palace of Santiago. He refuses to negotiate with the military, and addresses the Chilean people one last time over the national radio. When the air force starts bombing the Palace, he tells his supporters to surrender, and refusing this choice for himself, commits suicide. This remarkable and moving documentary exposes the most impressive footage about the events, some of which have never been seen before, and includes interviews with the friends and guards who were present in LA MONEDA on that fatal September 11th day.

Benazir Bhutto, Duel In Pakistan
A film by Michel NOLL
Since its independence in 1947, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been torn between civil rule and military dictatorship. The first civilian to take power is Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when he triumphantly wins the 1971 elections. But only six years later, General Zia coups him out of his position, puts him on trial and has him hanged, despite major international protests. Nine years later, his daughter Benazir wins the elections and thus makes sure that civilians are back in power. At only 35 years of age, Benazir Bhutto becomes the first woman to run an Islamic Republic.  But the duel continues and eleven years later, General Musharraf prompts another coup d'etat and Benazir will spend several years in prison and eventually in exile. Eight years later, in October 2007, with support from Washington, she returns to Pakistan to stand in the January 2008 elections. Her objective: to restore democracy in Pakistan. This documentary tells Benazir's tragic story as we learn about the turbulent history of her country and its ever-present struggles for power.

Rafic Hariri, Car Bombing in Beirut
A film by Amal HAMELIN DES ESSARTS and Bernard de la VILLARDIERE
Son of a peasant worker, born in Saida on November 1, 1944 Rafic Hairiri leaves Lebanon at the age of 18 and builds an immense empire in Saudi Arabia. He serves twice as Prime Minister of Lebanon, from October 31st 1992 to December 2nd 1998 and then from October 23rd, 2000 through October 21, 2004. It is here where he uses his influential network for the goals of his country, although many of his critics point at unsound conflicts of interest between the politician and the business man. In 2004 he resigns as Prime Minister, rejecting the overpowering influence of the Syrian government on his country, exercised in particular through the very pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud. Then, on February 14th 2005, in spite of his armored car, a car bomb kills him and many other people. The assassination marks the beginning of the Cedar Revolution as well as to the creation of a UN investigative mission, and finally, the installation of an International Court of Justice to try the murderers of Rafic Hariri.

Sergio Vieira De Mello And His UN Team, Black Tuesday In Baghdad
A film by Amal MOGHAIZEL and Bernard de la VILLARDIERE
On August 19th, 2003, an explosion destroys one side of the headquarters of the UN peace mission in Baghdad located at the Canal Hotel. The explosion, caused by a huge bomb hidden in a van has caused injury and death. Among the latter, the UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, head of the peace mission. At first, the first -aid workers had been able to communicate with him: the Brazilian diplomat was alive under tons of debris and steel. For hours, everybody attempted to save him, including his fiancé' who had survived the explosion. But to no avail, his injuries turned fatal. After the invasion of Iraq, everybody had been expecting bombings of American institutions, but nobody thought that the peace seeking UN mission would be the target of terrorists. Were they not the very people attempting to return sovereignty of Iraq to its people? Was this another example of the fact that terrorists ignore their own history? This compelling documentary looks at the events as they unfold and invites us to reflect upon the roles that UN can, and should, play in today's world politics.

Malcolm X And The Birth Of Afro-Americanism
A film by Emmanuel TRONQUART and Michel NOLL
In the opinion of some, his name still stands for violent black activism, his anti-white acid and incendiary speeches are still quoted by advocates of violence. But for most, his name has become the symbol for peaceful means to resolve racial issues, in particular for in this period of "shock of civilizations". He now represents the fraternity of all people regardless of their race, religion or belief. As in the case of Martin Luther King and of Gandhi, Malcolm X will remain in the pantheon of the civil rights movement. And like them, he will be assassinated. On the 21st of February 1965, whilst he delivers a speech in New York to mark the opening of the "National Week of Fraternity", he is shot dead in the presence of his wife and children. Malcolm X had only just turned 39. The assassins are defenders of the "Nation of Islam," but who the commissioners were, has never been established. This documentary reconstitutes the murder and looks at the serious leads casting light on his assassination. It is also the occasion to discover the key stages of the life of the fighter for the cause of the Black, and later of all oppressed people, irrespective of race and religion. It will reveal some of the important contradictions of this outstanding personality.
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