Monday, May 28, 2012

The Incredible Real Life Horrors of Andersonville

I recently checked for a "horror" movie at yahoo; a made for TV movie I saw many years ago on TV. Actually, I did not see the initial portion but remember the horrors of fellow Union prisoners of war grouping together into gangs and preying on their fellow prisoners for their meager rations and valuables and scanty property in highly vicious manner. The murderous gangs were actually one hellish components of the ingredients that made Andersonville such as hellish place; prisoners were fed starving rations, there was almost no clean water, there were no adequate protections from the elements of heat from summer or cold in winter, etc.

The hardcore gang members were sinister vicious murderous beasts in human form. It was horrifying to see such a group lording it over the miserable majority with impunity. Near the end of the movie, one man could not take it anymore and roused the others in a revolt that crushed the reign of terrors by the gang known as Raiders (actually, there were more than one gangs); the rebels was known as the Regulators. 

Actually, there were artistic licenses used as the actual story was that a new inmate (fresh fish to the Raiders) was so incensed at being victimized that he complained to the Confederate prison commandant and got his blessing to set up a rival gang to counter the Raiders and was provided with clubs as weapons to use in the big fight. There is actually the full movie available. 

I was surprised to know that this film was sometimes used as educational aid at US high schools for sociology/history. I find this film horrifying to watch and very gory... but then real life do have such parallels... Let us just look at the Arab Spring that broke out a year of so ago that saw so much violence in revolts by the common people against tyrants and dictators in Africa and the Middle East... Currently. The Assad regime of Syria is seeing the tyrant using extreme violence against his own people after he saw how fellows dictators such as in Egypt or Libya were toppled and even killed. 

Assad can be seen as the evil leader of the gang of Raiders and his opponents the common people of his country whom had suffered decades of persecutions during his bloody handed rule of his father and now under him.  In the movie, the most notorious leaders of the gangs were hanged after a trial conducted by the Regulators, for the evils that Assad had perpetrated against his innocent people; perhaps a similar fate awaits him for his crimes against humanity. 

Actually, the commandant of the prison was later executed for crimes against humanity (depicted in the following short documentary) for his role in the deaths of over 10,000 prisoners under his care at Andersonville. He was the only Confederate officer executed for his role in the Civil War. Actually, the Confederate armies were themselves under low and even starvation rations during the later part of the war as were the many Southern folk; so its not surprising to see the multitude of prisoners also given bad starvation rations as the South had little food for themselves and even their armies.

Below is a trailer to the TV movie: Andersonville
follow by a rousing scene where the victims of the Raiders were roused to an uprising. Finally, there is a short documentary explaining about Andersonville,  a true life horror story.

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