Strong controversy in Tunisia after Netflix announced a film project about the Carthaginian general Hannibal, with actor Denzel Washington starring in it.
It seems that the skin color of the famous American actor is a problem. The matter took such great proportions that it ended up being tabled in Parliament.
This is the second case of its kind to erupt in a North African country, after Egypt, which complained about a black actress’s interpretation of Cleopatra. Falsification of history, Afrocentrism, or anti-black racism?
The famous American platform announced a film project about Hannibal Barca (247-183 BC), who is considered one of the greatest generals and military strategists in history.
The start date of filming was not revealed, let alone the release date of the film, but revealing one detail was enough to spark controversy in Tunisia.
Denzel Washington will play the role of the famous Carthaginian chef. However, it is believed in Tunisia that Hannibal, as he had been represented until then, was not black.
On social networks, many Tunisians remember the Punic origin of the founders of Carthage, and therefore Hannibal could not be a black man, but a white man from North Africa.
Many have pointed the finger at actions carried out by African centrists. Afrocentrism is a doctrine that presents Africa as the cradle not only of humanity, but also the cradle of civilizations.
In the Tunisian Parliament, there is no doubt that MP Yassine Mami, to avoid accusations of racism, did not present the problem from this angle by questioning the Minister of Culture, Hayat Gurmazi.
The parliamentarian complained that Tunisia was not participating and was not informed about the content of the film, which could lead to “ Falsifying history “.
The minister responded that her ministry was seeking to negotiate with the American platform so that certain scenes would be filmed in Tunisia and nothing more. As for the rest, the film is fictional and Tunisia has no right to control its content.
Tunisia: Anger over a movie about Hannibal
On social media, the debate has become more heated. Petition urges Netflix to cancel Fake documentary “It was signed by 2,000 people denouncing” An attempt to steal history ” From Tunisia.
While some find Denzel Washington ” Very Old (68 years old) about the role, and others see it as “ Very black » To faithfully embody the Carthaginian military strategist.
La Presse, one of the largest Tunisian newspapers, wrote, citing critics, that “ Historical error “I don’t want to” Hannibal is portrayed as a black African when he is a white Semite “.
The controversy gets worse given that Tunisia was the subject of racism a few months ago following statements made by President Kais Saied last February regarding sub-Saharan migrants who, according to him, invaded Tunisia to change its demographic composition. Comments tagged with ” shocking » By the African Union, among others.
Last April, it was Egypt that loudly objected to another Netflix film, in which black actress Adele James plays Queen Cleopatra.
This case sparked a firm response from the authorities, who allocated a large budget to produce their own documentary in order to re-establish what they consider to be the historical truth.
” Cleopatra had white skin and Hellenistic features », decided the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities in an official press release.
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