Eugene Jarecki: The House I Live In (2012)

An interesting and rewarding documentary I watched two and a half months ago is Eugene Jarecki´sThe House I Live In“.

This documentary was shown in Europe at the beginning of July in the European TV-Channel “Arte“.

The German title of this documentary is “Drogen: Amerikas längster Krieg” (Drugs: America´s longest war) and you can find some information about this documentary in the website of “Arte“.

Eugene Jarecki is an American author and a dramatic and documentary filmmaker based in New York.

Jarecki´s works include “Why We Fight“, “The Trials of Henry Kissinger“, “Reagan“, “Freakonomics” (segment), “Quest of the Carib Canoe“, “Season of the Lifterbees” and his new documentary “The House I Live In“.

Why We Fight” and “The House I Live In” were both winners of the “Grand Jury Prize for Documentary” at the Sundance Film Festival, in 2005 and 2012 respectively.

I wrote an article in July 2011 about Jarecki´s brilliant documentary “Why We Fight“.

See for this my blogarticle (written in German) “`Why We Fight´ (2005)“.

Jarecki´s documentary “Why We Fight” describes the rise and maintenance of the United States military–industrial complex and its 50-year involvement with the wars led by the United States to date, especially its 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

Eugene Jarecki´s new documentary “The House I Live In” (2012) is about the so called “War on Drugs” in the United States.

For the past 40 years, the “War on Drugs” in the US has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion US-dollars in government spending, and America’s role as the world’s largest jailer. And the “War on Drugs” is also a heavy economic burden for the USA.

Yet for all that, illegal drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever.

Filmed in more than twenty states, “The House I Live In captures stories of those on the front lines — from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge — and offers a penetrating look at the profound human rights implications of America’s long lasting “War on Drugs

The film recognizes drug abuse as a matter of public health and investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have resulted from framing it as an issue for law enforcement. It also examines how political and financial corruption has fueled the war on drugs, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures.

The “War on Drugs” in the US has been a mayor factor in the formation of the largest prison-industrial system in the world, contributing to the incarceration of 2.3 million men and women and is responsible for untold collateral damage to the lives of countless individuals and families, with a particularly destructive impact on black America.

See for this also the article “Incarceration in the United States” in Wikipedia.

But it´s not only poor and underprivileged African-American ghetto kids who are jailed because of dealing with drugs.

It´s also the sons or daughters of wealthy parents like Hollywood-Star Michael Douglas and his former wife Diandra Luker who can get a very stiff sentence for drug offenses.

Cameron Douglas is now in prison since January 2009 and will have to remain there until early 2018.

See for this the article published in 12/21/2011 “Michael Douglas’ son handed more prison time” in “Reuters“.

See for this also the article published in 15/4/2013 “Michael Douglas’ son must serve longer in prison for drugs” in “USA Today“.

Well, when it comes to the War on Drugs, “It’d be one thing if it was draconian and it worked. But it’s draconian and it doesn’t work. It just leads to more”, says David Simon, creator of the HBO series “The Wire“.

And after watching this documentary “The House I Live in” in the European TV-Channel Arte I agree with David Simon. The “War on Drugs” obviously can´t be won using draconian legislation for dealing with drugs.

But instead of questioning a campaign of such epic cost and failure, those in public office generally advocate for harsher penalties for drug offenses, lest they be perceived by the voters as soft on crime.

Thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing, a small drug offense can put a nonviolent offender behind bars for decades — or even for life.

If you stand in a federal court, you’re watching poor and uneducated people being fed into a machine like meat to make sausage. It’s just bang, bang, bang, bang. Next!” says journalist Charles Bowden.

But there’s a growing recognition among those on all sides that the “War on Drugs” is a failure. Eugene Jarecki´sThe House I Live in” shows the statements of judges and policemen who have lost their faith in the current draconian legislation for dealing with drugs.

And beyond its human cost at home, the unprecedented violence in Mexico provides a daily reminder of the war’s immense impact abroad.

See for this the long article “Mexikan Drug War” in Wikipedia. See for this also my article (written in German) “Mexiko: Ein Land versinkt im Drogenkrieg“.

The “Mexikan Drug War” is an armed conflict that started around 2006 among rival drug cartels fighting each other for regional control and against the Mexican government forces and civilian vigilante groups.

By the end of Felipe Calderón‘s administration (2006–2012), the official death toll of the “Mexican Drug War” was at least 60,000 lives, although unconfirmed accounts set the homicide rate above 100,000 victims, given the large number of people who have disappeared. And the war is going on under the current President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto.

The main cause for this “Mexikan Drug War” is the fact that the US, which has a long border with Mexico, is the biggest worldwide market for illegal drugs. And illegal drug trade is a very profitable business.

The drug cartels in Mexiko are managing the illegal entry of the drugs into the US and they have become so rich and powerful that the Mexican state is struggling now to survive in his fight against the drug cartels.

These Mexican drug cartels are not only very well armed. They have also the money to bribe every Mexican politician, judge or policeman who is willing to accept their money.

So that´s the main cause for this desastrous “Mexikan Drug War“. The failure of the US-American “War on Drugs” is also causing a massive negative impact on Mexico.

Eugene Jarecki´s documentary “The House I Live In tries to promotes public awareness of the problem while encouraging new and innovative pathways to domestic drug policy reform.

I can really recommend to all of you to watch this documentary “The House I Live In“, especially if you are an US-citizen.

Eugene Jarecki has done a thorough research on the subject and is trying to cast a  thoughtful and critical light on the so called “War on Drugs” in the USA.

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Eugene Jarecki: The House I Live In (2012) Klaus Gauger steht unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung-NichtKommerziell-KeineBearbeitung 3.0 Unported Lizenz

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