Josh Oppenheimer: A Country Where the Killers Have Won

Why does extreme violence happen and what do the perpetrators really think of themselves? Director Joshua Oppenheimer asks just that in his new documentary film, The Act of Killing, executive produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. The movie follows Anwar Congo and his fellow Indonesian para-militaries as they recreate their country’s 1965-1966 mass murders. The catch – they are the mass-murderers! What does it mean to live in a country where impunity rules, a country where the killers have won? We already know. We, in the US, live in one! Oppenheimer tells Laura Flanders in this thought-provoking discussion on GRITtv. “Every object touching my body right now, every article of clothing is haunted by the suffering of the people who make it for us. And all of them, without exception are working in places where there have been mass political violence, where perpetrators have won,” says Oppenheimer. “People often see the film often ask what we can do? The first thing we have to remember is that the 1965 genocide; the Suharto dictatorship that followed; the regime in which gangsters could be used by corporations as well a politicians to break strikes to seize land; and the horrifying moral universe you see in The Act of Killing, that is the West’s vision for Indonesia,” he says. The US may not have been the driver, but it played – and continues to play a leading role in permitting the killers to rule. This interview is part of GRITtv’s “Got Docs” series, a five year commitment to platforming important documentaries. To see more please follow the links provided.