Movies That Matter On Tour found its way to Groningen on the 19th of February, as it does every month at Vera Zienema. This month the documentary Welcome to Sodom was screened. The film introduces you to Agbogbloshie, also known as Sodom, the biggest electronic waste dump on earth located in Accra, Ghana. Even though the topic is grim, the story of the those who live and work in this dump are portrayed with empathy and occasional light-hearted humour instead.

The main theme of the movie is the problem of e-waste, a paradox of globalisation. The people of Agbogbloshie make their living by scavenging for valuable metals on the dump. However, this requires burning the plastic around cables, which creates toxic fumes that threaten the health of those who live and work there. While this is the centre of the film, many other human rights issues are touched upon, like the marginalisation of women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as the dream of migration to Europe. As is usual for Movies that Matter, these human rights related messages are conveyed through great film-making. The committee organising this event found it one of the best movies they’ve screened.

Afterward, artist Peter Schudde gave an inspiring speech on the topic and showed us some of his work, which he creates out of e-waste. He uses patterns of motherboards to create beautiful sculptures, some of which you can check out on his website if you missed the event. Yet, his talk did not dwell on aesthetics. The speaker touched on the way technology reflects our need to control the world. He also discussed the power of large corporations with the audience. We were left with a quote from Isaac Asimov: “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

The audience was diverse, from teachers to students, from Amnesty members to movie buffs. Enjoying popcorn sold by the committee, people smiled, laughed, and turned eerily silent. The reactions were very positive. Some commented on the amazing cinematography. Others were fascinated by the microcosm the inhabitants of Sodom had built, including a ramshackle recording studio for Sodom’s young rappers. During the discussion, the question raised was whether technology couldn’t be used to solve problems like e-waste, rather than causing them. The answer was a resounding yes. No doubt we were all more motivated to contribute to that type of innovation.

Get your tickets now to the next Movies that Matter screening Yomeddine here

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