This summer, South Africa made a statement in movie theatres with the release of District 9. The fictional tale of aliens residing in a apartheid style township in SA, reflected the treatment of apartheid era Black South Africans. The film had us rooting for the ostracized aliens, and wishing they would just find a way out of the injustice they crash landed into. It was an enlightening tale, condemning segregation with subtlety, the film however also managed condemn another non-fictional group in an unfair, and cruel depiction. Amongst the aliens residing in the township lived another group; the only group brave enough (or low enough) to fraternize and deal with the aliens. These were not the local gangsters of Jo'burg, but Nigerian imports, gangsters dealing in illegal fire arms, pimping their prostitutes to the aliens, and dabbling in a bit of cannibalism.
Now, Nigerians are in an uproar, furious about the portrayal of their countrymen in an internationally exposed film, and rightfully so. The folks behind the film have brushed off the allegations of the film being racist, cautioning viewers to not take the film literally, after all it is fiction. Yes that it is, however in a film that is publicly denouncing the wrongful treatment of another group, is it not hypocrytical to put such labels on another specified group? Being that the tale is fictional, writers could have come up with a fictional country, however they specified Nigerians as the group behind the atrocious crimes in the movie. They even went as far as using the previous president's name with just one letter off (Obasenjo instead of Obasanjo).
Because it is fictional, we do take it literally, as an attack on the country. Its still mind numbing that the people behind the film don't see the depiction as slander. Had it been any other group (considered a major group) the action would have been called by its proper name. Its just a shame to see a powerful a moral tale regress by the injection of discriminatory elements. The film is now banned in Nigeria, and that is one battle they had every right to pick.