For­ward Ever: The Killing of a Revo­lu­tion

SHE Carribean Magazine - - PEPPERPOT -

As a piece of doc­u­men­tary film-mak­ing, Dr. Bruce Padding­ton’s heart-stop­pingly com­pelling and vis­cer­ally visual record of the rise of the Mau­rice Bishop’s New Jewel Move­ment is a real tri­umph – per­haps not per­fectly in line with ev­ery­one’s opin­ion or rec­ol­lec­tion, but cer­tainly for the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of cap­tur­ing a story which tore apart the tiny is­land na­tion and deeply im­pacted the en­tire Caribbean re­gion.

The film fo­cuses on the 1979-83 pe­riod through the eyes and ex­pe­ri­ences of many of the key par­tic­i­pants. From the blood­less coup through which Bishop and the NJM seized power from Eric Gairy and the Gre­nada United Labour Party, through the won­der years of a unique ex­per­i­ment in so­cial­ism to the dra­matic im­plo­sion of the Peo­ple’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Gov­ern­ment, and the events sur­round­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of Bishop who was then Prime Min­is­ter, along with cab­i­net mem­bers and civil­ians, con­clud­ing with the U.S. mil­i­tary in­va­sion in Oc­to­ber 1983.

Padding­ton sourced archival footage from Gre­nada, Cuba and the USA, filmed hours of in­ter­views with or­di­nary Gre­na­di­ans and those who ex­pe­ri­enced in one way or another the bliss and the hor­ror as­so­ci­ated with the revo­lu­tion. His son Luke edited the project, and to­gether they have cre­ated a film of such im­por­tance, that one viewer at the Saint Lu­cia premiere sug­gested that ‘For­ward Ever’ be shown in ev­ery school on the is­land, so sig­nif­i­cant is its ed­u­ca­tional value.

Dr. Bruce Padding­ton agrees, but is also aware that in some ways his film raises more ques­tions than an­swers; What was the root of the fac­tion­al­is­ing that emerged and led to the bloody im­plo­sion of the Revo­lu­tion? Whose or­ders put Bishop un­der house ar­rest? Were the ex­e­cu­tions or­dered and if so, by whom? Where are the bod­ies of Mau­rice Bishop and the oth­ers ex­e­cuted at Fort Ru­pert? Was po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence from Cuba the cause of the PNG dis­in­te­gra­tion and what part did the CIA play be­fore, dur­ing and after the revo­lu­tion?

One thing is abun­dantly clear: there is much more to the story of the Gre­na­dian Revo­lu­tion than can be con­tained within even a long for­mat doc­u­men­tary film, but ‘For­ward Ever: The Killing of a Revo­lu­tion’ is Padding­ton’s per­sonal con­tri­bu­tion to telling that sig­nif­i­cant tale and doc­u­ment­ing its his­tor­i­cal im­pact on Gre­nada and the world.

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