Prisoners of a White God
A documentary film about a mountain ethnic group in South East Asia, Prisoners of a White God investigates the activities of christian missionaries and international development among the Akha peoples in Thailand and Laos.
Prisoners of a White God was produced by Czech anthropologist Tomas Ryska. Through undercover work, Ryska discovers “the enactment of a hell on Earth”— the sickening truth of Evangelical missionaries, arriving with their gospel and the promise of aid, kidnapping Akha children from their villages to work in tea plantations and to sell them into the sex trade. Many of the children are also sexually abused by the missionaries.
“It is a picture of hell on earth despite the coming of so-called Good News, and it is enactment and creation of hell on earth for these tribal people”, comments the Akha Heritage Foundation. “Kidnapped from their villages, children become’ orphans’ though they have families. They become the employees on the Christian Missionary tea plantations. ‘There are no employees,’ says one man,’we have children.’ In one place, 60 children take the role of laborer on the boarding school grounds.”
“Ryska does an excellent job presenting the contrast of hypocricy and wealth of the missionary, aid, food and clothing, the underworld of child trafficking versus the appearance of cleanliness and holiness, worship done the ‘right’ way, versus the ‘pagan way…’ He uncovers the fear of eternal punishment versus the joys of heaven, fear of death threats for those who dare expose evil that dwells in the fundamentalist Christian missionary centers, corruption versus holiness, forced relocation, illness, depression, malaria, and prison camps in the lowlands for the unfortunate mountain people. It is colonization all over again.”
Ryska himself was eventually forced to leave Thailand, barely escaping “capture and murder at the hands of angry missionaries he deceived.”
Prisoners of a White God received the Grand Prixes at RAFF Film Festival, at Ecofilm Festival, at Festival of the Mountain Films, at “It’s Up To You” Film Festival and the Main Prize at Ekotopfilm in 2008.