Mayhem for profit

Issue 

The Cutting Edge. Weapons: A Battle for Humanity
SBS TV
8.30 pm (8.00 pm in SA), Tuesday, April 23
Reviewed by Brendan Doyle

In Angola, a child playing in the fields picks up a green thing that looks like a large plastic butterfly. It explodes, and the child becomes another victim of the world arms trade. This important documentary looks at the devastating effects of new weapons on civilian populations.

Filmed in Kenya, Afghanistan and Angola, this Cutting Edge special includes interviews with victims, weapons manufacturers, scientists and mine-clearance experts.

Robin Coupland, head of the surgical division of the International Red Cross, calls for international action to ban the production and export of land mines. But there are other weapons on the drawing boards of the arms makers. The laser gun is designed to blind people. The Red Cross is calling for governments to act now and ban blinding weapons before they are used.

Although the documentary does not spell it out, it is clear that political organisations must demand that such weapons not be produced. Most of the victims are women and children in the Third World. But those who design, make and sell the weapons live in the wealthy west.