Storyville. Murder in the Bush: Cold Case Hammarskjöld, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, director Mads Brügger.
Posted by celticman on Wed, 27 Nov 2019
Mads Brügger and private investigator Göran Björkdahl try to solve the cold case, the death of United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961. His plane crashed in the Congo killing the Secretary-General and all passengers. Brügger plays the role of amiable fool as he guides the viewer through a number of conspiracy theories of whodunnit.
He, for example, admits to hiring two black secretaries to type out his notes and dictates his story to them. They act as muses, have no knowledge of each other, but he solicits their opinions and weaves it into his ongoing narrative.
The Congo is a killing field where Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was largely based. King Leopold II of Belgium ran it as his personal fiefdom. He used natives as slaves and looted ivory and rubber on an industrial scale. Millions were murdered and slaves who failed to make their target of rubber tapped had their hands cut off. At the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century when black men were regarded as beasts of burden King Leopold II’s reign was regarded as a byword for cruelty.
Brügger’s investigation uncovered a possible lead. A Belgium mining conglomerate had funded an insurrection in which stooges in their employ would cede from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In that way the Belgium conglomerate would still profit from their mines in the region. Dag Hammarskjöld had sent in UN troops, but they’d lost the ground war and were withdrawn. Dag Hammarskjöld was on his way to broker a peace deal, but UN involvement had upset other major powers.
Brügger suggests the American CIA had field operatives who knew in advance the plane would be shot down. MI6 and British agents were also in the field. A Belgian pilot who had fought for the British during the second world war flew a British fighter plane, bought by the Belgian-mining corporation (one of two) and allegedly shot down the plane carrying the Secretary General as it landed at the Congolese airport.
Most dramas have the main plot and other sub-plots that play out and strengthen the main narrative. Here we have something innocuous, the presence of a white man in a white suit. Our two bumbling investigators track him to South Africa. He called himself a commander of some shadowy British naval association with links back to before the nineteen century. He had a gilt uniform and tricorn hat. He was dead now.
Brügger spoke to his wife on the phone. She said he’d went a bit mad and was a bit of a fabulist. She did, however, confirm that he had set up clinics on the edges of black townships and portrayed himself as a medical doctor, even though he had no medical qualifications. This was before Mandela was released from prison.
Brügger goes to the township and finds that the man in the white suit did call himself a doctor and gave injections to sick women who paid only a token fee for his services.
The story becomes darker as Desmond Tutu, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission offers a number of redacted documents for consideration of the public.
The fabulist construction of the man in the white suit began to gain some bones and walk and talk.
Camps were set up in South Africa funded by (supposedly) MI6 and other regional interest the provided white mercenaries to get involved in bush wars in any African nation were white man’s interests were at risk.
This fabulist organisation with thousands of ground troops also tried to develop a virus that would kill black men, women and children. The man in the white suits early forays into the townships was to inject prototype AID’s viruses. Medical experts, of course, tell us, that’s not how the AID’s virus is transmitted. It depends not on science, but intent and whether you believe in the man in the white suit. The legacy of Leopold II lives on in our racist beliefs and in the virus of hate and division. Truth really is stranger than fiction as the Whitehouse shows.