Netflix Brings Forgotten Irish War Story to Life
In the depths of the Congo in Africa, The Congo Crisis hit the country. It began almost immediately after the Congo’s independence from Belgium. With a vacuum of power, opposing groups sought to take over and the country descended into civil war. The Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War in which the Soviet Union and United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis. The UN decided to intervene and send in peace keeping forces. Included were Irish troops.
A company of Irish UN troops were attacked by troops loyal to the Katangese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe. The lightly-armed Irish soldiers resisted Katangese assaults for six days. A relief force of Irish and Swedish troops unsuccessfully attempted to reach the Irish force besieged in Jadotville. The cornered Irish soldiers radioed to their headquarters: “We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey.”
The outnumbered Irish company was eventually forced to surrender after ammunition and supplies were exhausted. They were held as prisoners of war for almost a month but none were killed. The Katangese and their white mercenaries suffered heavy losses. The siege marked the first time since the Irish War of Independence that Irish Army soldiers went into battle against another nation’s army.
The battle of Jadotville was pretty much ignored by the Irish state. The term ‘Jadotville Jack’ became a term of derision across the Irish Defence Forces. No Irish soldier managed to get any sort of decoration for their actions at Jadotville. Veterans of Jadotville continued to be dissatisfied with the Defence Forces’ refusal to acknowledge the battle. But they were most fecked off about the the black mark against Commandant Quinlan, who died in 1997. However nine years after his death, he finally got the “black mark removed.” It was finally acknowledged that Quinlan was forced into an impossible situation caused by the failings of the UN leadership. And despite being overwhelmed by the numbers of the attacking forces, he managed to pull it together and didn’t lose a single man.
Now Netflix is bringing this story to life for all Netflix subscribers in 2016. Calling it Jadotville, Northern Ireland’s Jaime Dornan will be the star. Despite a rather naked performance in Fifty Shades of Grey, in this one he’ll have to be clothed. The film will go into production in April. Directed by Richie Smyth, a well-known commercial and music video director (U2, Bon Jovi, The Verve) and written by Kevin Brodbin (Constantine), Jadotville will be filmed here in Ireland and in South Africa.
“The story of how Pat Quinlan led his troops against an overwhelming force without losing a single man is one of the great stories of the 20th century, and we are proud to be working with such a talented and committed team to bring it to life,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “This film will be an amazing addition to our global original films initiative. Netflix has already reinvented the TV market and is now moving front and centre into the film business.”
Netflix has a mind-boggling 57 million members in nearly 50 countries enjoying more than two billion hours of TV programmes and films per month, including original series, documentaries and feature films.
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