By: Jolie Featherstone
We Are Many offers an inspiring – dare I say celebratory – look at the organization and outcomes of the largest protest in human history. Indeed, an estimated 30 million people (many of whom had never attended a protest before) in over 800 cities across the entire globe collectively protested the US’ war in Iraq on February 15, 2003.
The film tracks the historical context of how the tragic events of September 11, 2001 changed the world. The post-9/11 world was one of fear, surveillance, grief, and anxiety. Spurred into taking militaristic action, the US’ decision inevitably led other countries, particularly the UK, into joining them. Grassroots anti-war activists leapt into action. Beginning by organizing within their own networks, the film documents how the movement grew as organizers and activists from different countries and backgrounds connected to stand for peace.
We Are Many offers an insider’s look from the organizers’ perspective behind the first ever truly global demonstration, and the ripple effect it had on the world in the years following. The documentary features interviews with organizers, activists, journalists, high-profile artists, and more. These interviews shed light on how this global demonstration had an impact in a myriad of ways outside of its originally intended cause. Activists in Egypt discuss how the global anti-war protests in 2003 inspired events that led up to the Arab Spring. In the UK (where the doc is mainly focused), activists discuss how the 2003 demonstrations impacted the government’s choice over the proposed invasion of Syria.
The documentary is earnest in how it captures the overwhelming elation, rage, and hope that one feels while demonstrating for a cause deeply cared about. The feeling of walking on pavement alongside fellow humans who care about the greater good, strengthening each other in solidarity, voices raised in unison – the filmmakers’ loving memories of this moment are felt throughout the film. Watching this film within the context of today offers a glimmer of hope for our collective tomorrow. A tomorrow that can be attained only through collective organizing and standing up for the benefit of all.
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