Saturday, May 1, 2010

Propaganda and "Terrorism"

Thanks to my Women's Studies students Christine Bowden, Rebekah Glover, and Rebecca Nesbitt for this link to a 1950s British newsreel film that represents the Kenyan freedom fighters, known as Mau Mau, as terrorists. The reel was produced while Britain held colonial control over Kenya, and the newsreel is clearly intended to drum up anti-Mau Mau support for continued British occupation. Based on our viewing of In the Name of Liberation, what questions come to mind about defining terrorism when you view this newsreel?


  1. This clip definitely exemplified the ideas of freedom fighters being shown as terrorist, like in the film In the Name of Liberation. It was almost ridiculous how biased and untrue the facts they were stating were. I thought it was ironic that they were saying that he Mau Mau were extremely violent and want to kill all white people, yet they show footage of the British searching them and they are standing there and look like they were doing nothing wrong. The video is labeling them fanatics and said that many join the Mau Mau out of fear. I found this also ironic because it seems very apparent to me that they are making this video to instill hatred and fear of the viewers towards the Mau Mau to detract the attention from the forceful British rule, or so that they can justify their oppressive actions. This is very similar to in the name of liberation however, the opposite because this video is naming them terrorist when in reality they are fighting for their freedom from the oppressed.

  2. Natasha Bauer
    GENG 239
    May 4, 2010

    I found it truly astounding that during the entire two minutes and twelve seconds that the British narrator was talking about how dangerous the Mau Mau were, and how lethal they were to the Westerners located in Kenya, that not once, was there a scene where the Mau Mau were attacking anyone, let alone harming anything. All I saw were white men interrogating and frisking African men more than willing to cooperate without needing any force to mount the back of a truck or to get out of their car for it to be searched. This is almost an ideal unjustified propaganda piece that the Westerners have been using over the years to brain was the white men, and target the black men. Unlike in the Name of Liberation, there were no scenes of battle, or of bombs. True, in the film there were also some unjust accusations of natives, however at least there was some accountability as to defining who was a truly a harmful and immoral terrorist and why. In this news reel, there was no such thing.