Our recommendations

Book:

Johann Hari

Chasing the Scream

A mix of sociology and history, a chronicle with novelistic elements, Hari employs the narratives of Harry Anslinger, the first Drug Czar in the United States, jazz-vocalist and addict Billie Holiday, and drug dealer Rothestein as archetypes with the intention to portray how the War is constantly being reinforced with shocking intensity and contradiction. He believes that the main reason for banning drugs was not the altruistic desire to protect people from chemical substances and addiction, rather because “the blacks, Mexicans, and Chinese were using these chemicals, forgetting their place, and menacing white people.” Racial discrimination still dominates, discussions on how efficient the war on drugs is continue, the majority of non-violent drug perpetrators are black, and still according to statistics drug use is equal among all races. Hari travels around the world and his stories capture the consequences of the unsuccessful war on drugs. Although the author focuses on the negative effects from the drugs prohibition, he points to the case of Portugal where all drugs were decriminalized in 2001. In this country average drug use now is lower than in any other country in Europe. The book is an observant and humane argument for abolition and reforms in the draconian drug policies.

http://chasingthescream.com/

Movie:                                  

Maria Full of Grace

In his film Joshua Marston chooses to portray a world problem – drug trafficking by using women “drug mules.” A powerful story that reveals the reality about the life of those who are merely pawns in the cruel world of drug trading. Maria’s portrait will make you stop and realize the other side of this illicit business. Poor girls from Columbia often decide to become “drug mules” in order to provide a better, safer life for their families, and in this case for an unborn child. In the exploitation, women are not treated as human beings, rather as a packaging for valuable substances intended for users and the dealer’s profit. Fact is that dealers see “drug mules” as something dispensable which earns them millions of dollars. What fascinates in Maria Full of Grace is the attentive acting of the main character who portrays the treatment of those living on the edge of financial globalization. Although explicit, the moralizing attitude is completely absent.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390221/

Irena Jovanovska