Poster for »Black Panther: Wakanda Forever« (in Shanghai in February 2023)
Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP
French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu has expressed outrage that the US film »Black Panther: Wakanda Forever« shows looting soldiers in uniforms resembling those of French troops in the Sahel.
"I strongly condemn this false and misleading representation of our armed forces," Lecornu wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
"I think of and remember the 58 French soldiers who died defending Mali against Islamist terrorist groups at Mali's request."
As reported by the broadcaster France Info from the minister's environment, Lecornu has nothing against artistic freedom in a cinema film.
The accusation made in the film that the French army wants to plunder raw materials in Africa corresponds to the anti-France sentiment fanned by Russia in African countries.
The film, with which Marvel Studios continues the blockbuster »Black Panther« (2018) about the African king and superhero T'Challa, was released in cinemas in November.
The minister was now responding to comments by a journalist describing how closely the uniforms in the film resemble those worn by French soldiers on their mission in Mali until 2022.
France is portrayed in the film as a nation intent on appropriating the treasures of the fictional African country in which the action takes place, wrote journalist Jean Bexon.
The villains in the film wear the uniforms of French soldiers.
Minister Lavrov speaks about neocolonialism
France decided to withdraw from Mali about a year ago because the interim military government that came to power in a coup maintains close contacts with Russia and is said to have hired fighters from the Russian mercenary group Wagner.
Germany also decided to withdraw in November.
Russia, on the other hand, is expanding its partnership with the junta and is supplying Mali with weapons and Mi-8 and Mi-24 attack helicopters, a Mig-25 fighter jet and a Casa C-295 transport aircraft.
The delivery of military technology has strengthened Mali's army and supported it in the fight against terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a visit to Mali last week.
He also accused western states of manipulating African states with a neo-colonial agenda.
The former colonial powers "have to get used to the fact that the world has changed," Lavrov said after meeting his Malian colleague Abdoulaye Diop, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.
The West has a negative attitude towards Africa that encourages decisions that manipulate public opinion.
The West wants to decide the fate of Africa - and neo-colonialism has not died out in the West.