Rosa Parks’ home in Berlin, saving it from destruction by Detroit’s mayor


This video from the USA is called The Rosa Parks Story.

The mayor of Detroit in the USA not only threatens a graffiti artist with fifteen years in prison for graffiti art.

There is also this.

By Mary Papenfuss from the USA:

04/10/2017 03:27 am ET

What Is Rosa Parks’ House Doing In Berlin?

Detroit planned to demolish the home, so now it’s in artist’s yard in Germany.

If you want to visit the home where civil rights legend Rosa Parks lived, you’ve got a trip ahead of you — all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s because her home is in the backyard of an American artist living in Germany.

It seems like back-of-the-bus treatment for the black woman who had the guts in 1955 to refuse to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama and go to the back of the bus. Instead, she gave birth to the civil rights movement.

Why is her home in Berlin? Short answer? Detroit planned to destroy it.

When Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley found out, she purchased the home for $500 and cast around for ways to save it. She reached out to artist Ryan Mendoza, who happened to be in Detroit at the time. Though they both appealed to Detroit’s mayor to protect the building, they said he had no interest. So they dissembled the home, packed it in shipping containers, transported it to Germany, and put it back together in an expensive operation that took several months, reported Deutsche Welle.

“It is something that is precious,” McCauley told The Associated Press. “It is priceless, yet it is being mistreated. That’s what I saw and that’s how it felt. So when I met Ryan and he said, ‘Let’s bring it to Berlin and restore it,’ I said yes.”

Mendoza, who was born in New York, is stunned that Germany ended up with what he considers a treasure. “The Rosa Parks house should actually be a national monument and not a demolition project,” he told Deutsche Welle.

“The basic question, the fundamental question I ask myself: ‘Is the house worthless or is the house  priceless?’ For the American institutions so far the house has been deemed worthless,” he told Agence France-Presse. “It was put on a demolition list; that’s not a detail.”

Mendoza believes it’s apt that the house stands in a country that tore down a wall, and has left a nation planning to build a wall.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the official unveiling of the home in Berlin last week. The interior still needs some work, but Mendoza has installed a sound exhibit for the home including a telephone interview with Parks.

McCauley said she hopes one day the U.S. will “grow up” and ask for its treasure back.

Stop German militarist propaganda on universities


This video says about itself:

Causes of World War 2 | History of Germany & German Militarism

This film (originally titled as ‘Here is Germany’) is a 1945 American propaganda documentary film directed by Frank Capra and produced by the U.S. Office of War Information. It was made to prepare soldiers who had not seen combat to go to Germany for the U.S. occupation after the May 8, 1945 unconditional German surrender. It explains why the Germans started World War 2 and what had to be done to keep them from “doing it again”.

The film gives us a brief history of Germany and German militarism till 1939. It traces the rise of Prussia from Frederick the Great through Bismarck, telling the audience that the Prussian state was organized as an instrument of conquest, dominated first by aristocratic landowners, militarists and state officials, later joined by those big industrialists with ties to the militarists and their Imperial Government. The development of a military-industrial dominated state in the founding of the Prussian-dominated German Empire in 1870 climaxes in the catastrophe of World War 1. The film depicts the Third Reich from this perspective, seeing Nazism as simply a continuation of the aggressive German tradition, promoted by the businesses dependent on government contracts for arms.

By Iason Stolpe in Germany:

Berlin student center halts German army advertising campaign

6 April 2017

The administrative council of the Berlin student center (StuWe) decided at its last meeting on March 9 not to accept any advertising from the German army at any of Berlin’s universities until further notice. A final decision on the matter is to be taken at its next meeting in July.

In the lead-up to the meeting, several student representative bodies at Berlin’s Humboldt University (HU) and Free University (FU) voted in favour of banning advertising from the German army and for military purposes within Berlin university buildings.

The decision was triggered by an advertising campaign for the army’s medical service, which was displayed in the canteen at the HU’s northern campus in November and December. The campus is next to the university’s Charité hospital, meaning that many medical students are regular visitors.

A large section of the student body at the campus opposed the advertisements. The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at HU subsequently introduced a motion in the student parliament rejecting German army advertising at universities in Berlin, which was adopted by a large majority in November.

The administrative council is the highest decision-making body of the StuWe, which not only operates canteens and student accommodation, but also administers student loans and advisory services for the Berlin student body. Meeting twice a year, the council is composed of 14 members: half of the positions are filled by student representatives from Berlin’s universities and the other half by officials from the Berlin State Senate, university management and the StuWe.

According to participants in the meeting who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site, the student representatives introduced a motion in which they asked how much income the StuWe had obtained from the German army adverts it had displayed. In addition, they cited the decision of HU’s student parliament, which declared, “The student parliament opposes all forms of advertising for the German army at our university and calls on the Berlin Student Center and university management not to permit any advertising for the army on the HU campus.”

In addition, the student representatives made the demand at the meeting that the advertising guidelines for the StuWe be changed to ban in principle all advertising for the army or for military purposes at Berlin’s universities, as had been called for by the HU student parliament and the FU’s general student committee (Asta).

According to information from the business managers, the StuWe secured a profit of just €190 for the advertisements, which were displayed for three weeks. This corresponds to the standard cost of advertising secured by the firm CAMPUSdirekt.

The decision on the second and central demand made by the student representatives, the changing of the advertising guidelines, was postponed until the next meeting of the administrative council by the meeting’s chair–with a reference to the order of business because a written motion had not been submitted in time. The discussion indicated that there was a majority on the Administrative Council in favour of the change.

Reacting to the widespread opposition among students to the army’s advertising, the council pledged not to approve any further advertisements for the army until a final decision on the matter has been made by the Administrative Council in July.

The interim decision by the Administrative Council represents a significant victory for students in Berlin.

The decision amounts to a slap in the face for HU President Sabine Kunst. At a meeting of the academic senate in December, she presumptuously stated she could see no reason why advertisements for the army should be banned at Berlin’s universities. The army was after all an organisation in conformity with the Federal Republic’s constitutional order, she asserted to the students present. She went on to praise the career prospects in the army, which were very wide-ranging, “from trainee medics to teachers, social workers and heaven knows what else.”

At this point, the student parliament at her university had already supported the banning of army advertising by a large majority. This was followed in January and February by other student representative bodies, which expressed themselves no less decisively.

“We call on the Berlin Student Center and those responsible at FU Berlin to change their advertising guidelines going forward so that advertising for the arms industry and military (and therefore also advertising for the army) will not be permitted. […] We support a Free University that is a research and educational establishment of peace,” stated the decision of the FU student parliament on February 2.

This decision was confirmed by the FU Asta in its own press release. Fabian Bennewitz, a member of the university politics department, placed the rearming of the army in the context of the social cuts which have resulted in horrific consequences for the health sector, commenting, “It is particularly cynical for the army to boast [on its advertising placards] about being well armed and equipped with doctors who allegedly do not fight for profits. This only seems credible because the facilities in hospitals like the Charité continue to deteriorate due to a lack of public investment, privatisation and the focus on profit-maximisation in the health sector associated with this.”

Berlin atrocity, drugs and secret service


This 22 December 2016 video is called Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri was under surveillance for months.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Assault perpetrator of Berlin was a drug user and dealer’

Today, 11:09

Anis Amri, the terrorist who committed the attack in Berlin on 19 December, used XTC and cocaine and was a drugs dealer. This writes the newspaper Welt am Sonntag on the basis of an interim report on the investigation that will be discussed in the Bundestag [parliament] tomorrow.

The message is clear according to the newspaper that Amri had also been guilty of drug offenses in his native Tunisia. The researchers are now wondering whether, at the time that he had used a truck against visitors to a Christmas market he also had used drugs. …

The Bundestag group of [left party] Die Linke wants clarification on whether Amri worked as an informant for intelligence agencies. “There are many indications that something is not right”, said the deputy party leader to Bild am Sonntag. “We need to know whether the services had information previously.”

Berlin atrocity perpetrator and German secret service


This video from Germany says about itself:

25 December 2016

Some days after a truck drove into the Berlin Breitscheidplatz Christmas market, people put lots of flowers and candles on the street to express their condolence.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German intelligence agent drove alleged perpetrator in Christmas market attack to Berlin

28 December 2016

One week after the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, there is a growing chorus of demands for a massive strengthening of the state apparatus, the elimination of basic democratic rights, and the erection of new barriers against refugees.

At its upcoming congress at the start of January, the Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU), part of the coalition government headed by its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), plans to call for more personnel and better equipment for the security services, additional powers for law enforcement, more monitoring of emails and communications services such as Whatsapp and Skype, and increased data exchanges between the European Union countries.

This is despite the fact that the Berlin attack cannot be attributed to a lack of surveillance or police powers granted to the security and judicial authorities. On the contrary, the alleged perpetrator, Anis Amri, prepared his action literally under the eyes of the authorities. It has now emerged that the 24-year-old Tunisian was driven to Berlin by an undercover informant of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), which closely monitored Amri for months before he drove a large truck into a crowd on December 19.

Amri had been imprisoned in Italy for four years for criminal offenses and was reportedly radicalized while in jail. In 2015, he was released and went to Germany, where he applied unsuccessfully for asylum. According to an investigation by the German television program “Report Munich,” he joined an Islamic network in which at least two spies for the German intelligence service were active.

On Friday evening, the ARD television program “Focus” (“Brennpunkt”) cited a file according to which an “informant” (“VP”) for the North Rhine-Westphalian state criminal office had already made contact with Amri at the end of 2015. “In the ensuing days, Amri stated that he wanted to carry out attacks in Germany using weapons of war (AK 47s, explosives),” the notation reads.

Between February and March of 2016, Amri was driven from Dortmund to Berlin by a “secret informant for the BND” to whom he related his plans. The note in the file adds: “He was driven by VP and stated that his mission was to kill on behalf of Allah.”

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, at about the same time, the state criminal agency of North Rhine-Westphalia sent a report on the Islamic network in which Amri was active to the prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe. The top German criminal prosecutor commenced investigations into Amri on suspicion of support for and membership in a terrorist group. In November, he ordered the arrest of the head of the group, Abu Walaa, as well as other hard-core members.

Amri, however, remained free. Apparently, shortly after Amri had moved to Berlin with the help of agents of the state, the prosecutor’s office handed over his case to the Berlin judiciary and encouraged it to investigate him on suspicion of preparing a major state-threatening act of violence—a lesser form of terrorism. The Berlin public prosecutor’s office then began its own investigation on the suspicion that Amri was merely planning a burglary to obtain money for the purpose of buying weapons.

Amri was subsequently supervised and monitored by the Berlin security authorities until September. Then the surveillance was reportedly stopped, supposedly because there was no evidence pointing to an imminent offence. The authorities in Berlin refrained from arresting him, although they had ample legal authority given the fact that Amri was an asylum-seeker whose application had been rejected and who was suspected of terrorism.

It is totally beyond belief that the failure to arrest Amri was an “accident,” or was due to a lack of legal authority to take him into custody. Even Heribert Prantl, a lawyer who heads the internal affairs department of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, presumed on Friday that Amri was intentionally left alone.

He wrote: “Did the authorities accept the risks associated with Amri because they hoped that their surveillance would provide information? And did the supervising authority say nothing to other authorities because it wanted to keep the knowledge to itself?”

In fact, there are ample grounds to believe that sections of the state apparatus deliberately accepted the risk of such an attack in order to promote their own right-wing agenda. Fierce clashes have taken place in German ruling circles over refugee and security policy. Many regard Chancellor Angela Merkel as too soft to lead the government in times of major international and national tensions and mounting social conflicts. Under these circumstances, the attack is being used to intimidate the population and bring about a political change of course, possibly including a change of government.

The massive and unexplained evidence of state foreknowledge and even protection of the alleged perpetrator of the December 19 Berlin attack conforms to a by-now familiar pattern in regard to major terror attacks internationally. Such was the case in the November, 2015 attacks in Paris, the Boston Marathon bombings in April of 2013, and the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington DC.

In each case, the Islamist forces involved in the attacks were linked either to despotic regimes allied to Washington, such as Saudi Arabia, to militias being used as proxy forces for US imperialism and its European allies in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, or, in the case of the Boston Marathon attack, to CIA-backed Islamist separatists operating within the Russian Federation.

In all of these cases, the perpetrators had long been in the sights of the security forces, which refrained from intervening. In every case, the attacks provided the pretext for a massive buildup of the state apparatus. In France, the Socialist Party government of François Hollande seized on the Paris attacks to impose an indefinite state of emergency, which continues to this day. The Boston attacks were used to impose a martial-law-like lockdown and police-military occupation of a major American city. The September 11 attacks served as justification for the so-called “war on terror,” involving a series of devastating wars in the Middle East and the erection of a surveillance and police state apparatus in the US.

The Berlin attack is now being exploited for similar purposes. Although there is no connection with the refugees who came to Germany last year to escape the imperialist wars in Syria and other countries, and although the German security authorities knew of Amri’s intentions, there is an unceasing drumbeat for a strict policing of borders and the construction of a totalitarian surveillance state.

On Tuesday, Spiegel Online predicted that the conflict “will be even sharper, even more polarizing, even dirtier leading up to the Bundestag (parliamentary) elections in September.” It noted that interior policy experts of all parties are discussing “a more consistent deportation policy, transit centres, video surveillance, and electronic foot-cuffs for Islamic threats.” It stated further that Chancellor Merkel, who has declared she is prepared to stand for election to a fourth term, does not fundamentally oppose these debates, but now “knows she has to deliver.”

Spiegel Online went on to declare that the “humanitarian imperative” was for yesterday. In 2017, Merkel would no longer be the “refugee chancellor,” but rather the security chancellor. She had to embody the “strong state” that she has herself invoked in order to secure support within “her own ranks.”

Similar reactions are being expressed internationally. In France, both the conservative Republicans (LR) and the far-right National Front are calling for the strengthening of borders. The Republicans spokesman Guillaume Larrivé declared: “Merkel’s decision to open up borders has weakened the security of Europe, the whole continent. We need a different immigration policy, another security policy—both in Paris and Berlin.”

The British Spectator complained that while the issue at hand was the need to abolish the right to asylum, Germany was still “a prisoner of its past, scarred by the knowledge that the land of Goethe and Beethoven murdered six million Jews.”

The Week described Merkel’s refugee policy as “a disaster.” It wrote: “She said that welcoming this enormous wave of refugees was the only way to be true to ‘European values.’ But the current wave of terrorism and the enormous fear of crime and disorder in European cities is proving mortally dangerous not just to her own party, but to the European Union itself.”

Berlin terror attack suspect was well known to German intelligence agencies: here.

German politics after the Berlin atrocity: here.

The Berlin terror attack: Is a section of the state trying to destabilize the German government? Here.

Berlin Christmas market attack: German intelligence aware of perpetrator’s 14 identities: here.

Al-Qaeda’s bloody Berlin Christmas?


This video from Germany says about itself:

Witnesses React To Deadly Attack In Berlin Christmas Market

20 December 2016

A truck plowed into people at a busy Christmas market in central Berlin on December 19, killing at least 12, and injuring dozens more. Police said they are investigating the incident as a probable “terrorist attack.” Witnesses described the horrific scene.

First, I wish all the relatives and friends of the people who died in this terrible event, and all injured people and their relatives and friends, strength and recovery.

Much about this atrocity is still unclear, eg, what exactly happened around this Polish truck, its original driver, and the Polish second person in the truck, who died.

Originally, German Minister Thomas de Maizière, police and corporate media claimed this was a crime by a refugee from Pakistan; which led to racist abuse claiming that all refugees were supposedly criminals.

However, unexpectedly, of all media, Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox News corrected this today:

Berlin attacker still on loose, wrong man in custody, police sources tell German press

The hunt is on for the driver who rammed into a Berlin Christmas market on Monday, killing at least 12, as authorities now believe they have the wrong person in custody, German police sources told the country’s Die Welt newspaper.

The Pakistani asylum-seeker taken into custody Monday and suspected of the attack has denied involvement, officials have said.

“We have the wrong man and therefore a new situation,” a senior police chief told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper. “The true perpetrator is still armed, at large and can cause fresh damage.” …

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump blamed Islamist terrorists, though it was unclear what that assessment was based on.

So, Trump ‘knew’ ‘certainly’ before knowing what really happened.

Also CNN admitted that earlier refugee-blaming had been wrong.

UPDATE: police have freed the Pakistani refugee. They don’t know whether the real perpetrator was a Muslim or not. See also here.

However, there were warnings that either ISIS or al-Qaeda might use trucks to attack Christmas markets.

If Berlin is one of these cases, then which of these two suspects?

Another atrocity happened yesterday in Ankara, Turkey. There, an off duty Turkish policeman murdered the Russian ambassador who was opening a photo exhibition. The murderer used the war in Syria as a pretext.

Bill Van Auken writes about this:

According to some reports, the Islamic State (ISIS) denied any connection with the killing [of the ambassador], while web sites connected with the Al Nusra Front, the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate that has been the backbone of US-backed forces in Aleppo, hailed the killing.

So, there is a possibility, not certainty, that this Berlin bloodbath was the work of al-Qaeda.

There is a tragic irony in that. On 9/11, the day of commemoration of al-Qaeda’s bloody attacks in New York City and Washington in the USA, a German corporate media warmonger supported NATO waging war in Syria on al-Qaeda’s side, whitewashing al-Qaeda.

Just before the Berlin atrocity, Chris Floyd in the USA wrote:

An al Qaeda Christmas: The Touching Tale of How Hate Figures Became American Heroes

19 December 2016

You’re al Qaeda. You’re being supported by the United States in your jihad to impose extremist rule on Syria, but you still have a PR problem; too many people remember all that unpleasant business from so long ago when you blew up a few buildings in the US. What can you do?

Well, first you change the name of your Syrian branch two or three times. You make sure your spokesmen — who actually get respectfully quoted in the US media! — say moderate things in English but speak with genocidal sectarian fury in Arabic. So far, so good. But what if your new US media buddies actually got a peek at how you operate on the ground in Syria — cutting off heads, hoarding food aid, colluding with ISIS, slaughtering religious minorities, oppressing women, etc.? That’s easy: you simply make the zones you control so dangerous for reporters — killing them, kidnapping them, etc. — that they don’t go there anymore. Instead, they “report” on your activities from far away, relying on you to provide their information, telling the story you want told.

And presto chango, that’s how those who murdered Americans have become America’s newest heroes, the brave defenders of freedom in Syria. What’s more, anyone who dares point out the true nature of your organization, and how you operate, are now denounced as apologists for the loathsome Assad regime, or as Putin-lovers, even as traitors! Think of it; just a few years ago, you were the most reviled and hated group Americans had ever known — and now Americans across the media and political spectrum hail you as heroes and defend you from all attacks!

Sure, you’ve lost your foothold in Aleppo, where for years you systematically persecuted people and forcibly prevented them from leaving. But America’s still got your back, AQ! Even when you attack relief convoys in an attempt to scuttle a peace deal that would allow anyone who wants to leave East Aleppo to go free, the American media will fudge the headlines so no one will know that it was you who did the deed.

[And hey, let’s not forget what America’s been doing for you in Yemen! Remember how the Houthis had you on the ropes, nearly ridding the country of your presence — and then the Americans stepped in with their Saudi allies, bombing the holy hell out of the place, choking off food and medicine supplies, destroying the infrastructure for basic survival, killing thousands of civilians and putting millions of people at dire risk of starvation! And suddenly you were back, making great gains, stronger than ever! You simply couldn’t ask for a better friend, could you?]

So buck up, AQ! With the full weight of the American media and political establishment behind you, no doubt there are still great days ahead! In fact, the president has just made it easier for you guys to get even more American weapons so you can carry on your noble quest! It’s just our way of saying Merry Christmas!

German students against militarist propaganda in university


This video from Germany says about itself:

Uli Rippert’s contribution to May Day 2016: Once again, German militarism is rearing its ugly head.

From a World Socialist Web site reporter in Berlin:

Germany: Humboldt University Student Parliament opposes military advertising at university

24 November 2016

The Student Parliament (StuPa) of Humboldt University (HU) in Berlin voted on November 21 to oppose any Bundeswehr (armed forces) advertising at the university. The motion was tabled by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) chapter at Humboldt.

The StuPa adopted the resolution by a large majority: 19 voted in favor, six against and seven abstained. The resolution reads: “The Student Parliament rejects all forms of advertising for the Bundeswehr at our institution and calls on the Berlin Students Union and the University administration not to allow advertising by the Bundeswehr on the campus of HU.”

The resolution was triggered by the latest Bundeswehr advertising campaign, part of a drive that is increasingly targeting young people at schools and universities. The Bundeswehr has been advertising at HU since the beginning of the winter semester, especially in the canteen at the university’s North Campus. The advertisements are particularly aimed at recruiting medical students for the Army Medical Service.

Bundeswehr advertising at Humboldt university

In the days leading up to the StuPa meeting, the IYSSE distributed leaflets informing students of the motion to be discussed. Many students were indignant that the Bundeswehr was being promoted so openly at an institution of science and learning.

In its leaflet, the IYSSE explained that the Bundeswehr advertisements directly contradicted the principles of the university, which called for the “humanization of social life.” The university’s constitution states that HU promotes “the maintenance of peace.”

The resolution was introduced at the StuPa meeting by Sven Wurm, an IYSSE spokesman and member of the parliament. “It is important that the StuPa act from the outset against this development,” Wurm said. “If we do not intervene early, the Bundeswehr will feel encouraged to push their offensive at other universities, including setting up recruitment stalls and holding evening lectures and the like.”

The Bundeswehr advertising campaign is part of Germany’s return to aggressive foreign and great power politics. Ever since the incumbent president, Joachim Gauck, and the federal government officially announced the end of German military restraint at the 2014 Munich Security Conference, “career counselors” and Bundeswehr “youth officers” have increasingly sought to recruit new soldiers at schools and job centres.

The passage of the resolution by the StuPa is an expression of growing opposition among young workers and students to the militarization of society. Students have also successfully protested against the Bundeswehr campaign at other German universities. Following an official protest by the General Student Committee (AStA) at the University of Hamburg, the Bundeswehr was banned from advertising there.

The rejection of Bundeswehr advertising by the StuPa at Humboldt University in Berlin has a particular significance. Two Humboldt professors, Jörg Baberowski and Herfried Münkler, have close links with the Bundewehr and play an important role in the elaboration and ideological justification of the new German war policy.

In the book Scholarship or War Propaganda? the IYSSE has documented how Baberowski writes for and lectures at the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr (ZMSBw) in Potsdam. For example, he wrote for the Military History Research Institute (MGFA), which opened in 2012 in ZMSBw, producing two publications intended “as guidance in action” for German soldiers. [1]

Professor Münkler regularly participates in public panel discussions about rearmament and war with representatives of the Bundeswehr, and in his capacity as a Humboldt professor makes statements lauding senior military figures. For example, on January 21, 2015, he delivered the testimonial lecture on the 60th birthday of the ZMSBw commander Colonel Dr. Hans-Hubertus Mack. The lecture was titled “1914-2014: The long roots of the recent wars in Europe and the Middle East.” [2]

While Humboldt professors such as Thomas Sandkühler try to suppress student criticism of the militarist tendencies at Humboldt University, students are no longer willing to accept the use of their university for war propaganda.

Notes

[1] Vandreier, Christoph (2015): “Jörg Baberowski’s falsification of history,” in Scholarship or War Propaganda? The return of German militarism and the dispute at Berlin’s Humboldt University, p. 103

[2] Testimonial lecture by Prof. Dr. Herfried Münkler in Potsdam at the ZMSBw: “1914-2014: The long roots of the recent wars in Europe and the Middle East”.

Race, film about athlete Jesse Owens


This october 2015 video from the USA is called Race Official Trailer #1 (2016) Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis Biographical Drama Movie HD.

By Alan Gilman and David Walsh in the USA:

Race: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics

10 March 2016

Directed by Stephen Hopkins; written by Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse

Race chronicles the storied athletic career of Jesse Owens, which culminated in his four gold medal performance at the 1936 Nazi-sponsored Berlin Olympics.

Directed by Stephen Hopkins, the film begins in 1933 with a young Owens (Stephan James) arriving at Ohio State University to run track. Owens is immediately confronted with racial bigotry, particularly from members of the all-white football team.

His track coach, Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), recognizes Owens as an extraordinary talent. Snyder impresses on the youthful athlete that if he demonstrates single-minded, fanatical focus he will be unstoppable, not only on the college level, but also at the 1936 Olympic Games to be held in Berlin.

Owens follows Snyder’s advice, despite the pressures of fatherhood (he has a baby daughter with his girlfriend, Ruth Solomon (Shanice Branton). He quickly becomes a top collegiate track athlete, and in 1935 at a meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan performs the astonishing feat of breaking three world records (long jump, 220-yard dash and 220 low hurdles) and tying a fourth (100-yard dash) in 45 minutes. This is widely considered one of the greatest single-day performances in athletic history.

Meanwhile, a campaign is underway within the American Olympic Committee, led by Judge Jeremiah Mahoney (William Hurt), to boycott the Berlin Games because of Nazi racism and anti-Semitism.

Avery Brundage (Jeremy Irons), a builder and real estate developer, and future International Olympic Committee president, leads the anti-boycott forces. Brundage shrugs off Germany’s anti-Semitic and racial issues, “It’s not our place to tell a sovereign nation what to do, and besides, when was the last time any of you nay-voters socialized with a Jew or a Negro?”

To help resolve this dispute Brundage agrees to embark on a fact-finding mission to Germany and meets with Joseph Goebbels (Barnaby Metschurat), the Nazi propaganda minister, who “promises” the Germans will not discriminate against any athlete, including Jews. With this agreement in hand, Brundage is able to defeat the boycott forces by a vote of 58 to 56.

Later, during the Olympics, when the Germans break their promise not to discriminate, Goebbels quickly puts an end to Brundage’s feeble protests by threatening to expose a commercial agreement—essentially a bribe—the two parties have entered into.

Other groups, including the NAACP, continue to support boycotting the Olympics, and place pressure on Owens. Ultimately, with the support of his family, he decides to go to the 1936 Games.

In Berlin, Owens is surprised to find that within the Olympic Village the American athletes are housed in integrated housing, something that never occurred in the US. Outside the Olympic venue, however, we see scenes of Jews being beaten and rounded up by the Nazis.

Owens proceeds to win four gold medals, in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter race, long jump and 400-meter relay. He is the most successful, and wildly popular, athlete at the Games and is credited with having delivered a devastating blow to the Nazi myth of “Aryan supremacy.”

In one of the more poignant scenes in the film, German long jumper Carl “Luz” Long (David Kross), the European champion, befriends Owens. After Owens fouls on the first two of his three attempts to qualify for the long jump, Long marks a spot several inches in front of the takeoff board, pointing out to Owens that if he takes off from there he will still jump far enough to qualify. Owens does just that and then goes on to defeat Long, who wins the silver medal.

Long is the first to congratulate Owens after the event, shaking his hand. The pair pose for photos and run a victory lap together.

That evening Long explains to Owens that he detests the Nazis for what they are doing and that many other Germans feel the same. At the end of Race there is an acknowledgement that Owens and Long continued their friendship for several more years and that the German athlete was killed in Sicily during World War II.

Owens’ last race is the 4 x 100 relay, an event that he has not trained for and is not scheduled to run. He participates because the team’s only two Jewish athletes, Marty Glickman (Jeremy Ferdman) and Sam Stoller (Giacomo Gianniotti), are benched at the last minute, on the demand of the German authorities. (Glickman went on to become one of the most prominent and talented American sportscasters in the postwar period, the voice of several New York sports teams, only retiring in 1992.)

As the film ends, a title notes that Owens was never invited to the White House or congratulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

There are some valuable elements and moving moments in Race. The story of Owens’ accomplishments, in the face of considerable odds, inevitably touches on some significant historical questions.

Jesse Owens was the youngest of 10 children born to Mary Emma Fitzgerald and Henry Cleveland Owens, a sharecropper, in Oakville, Alabama. His impoverished family took part in the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the Northeast, Midwest and West, moving to Cleveland’s east side in the early 1920s. Owens’ father and older brother worked in steel mills, the former only irregularly.

As the result of his athletic prowess, Owens stumbled onto the stage of world politics in the 1930s. The opposition of Avery Brundage, head of the Olympic movement in the US, to a boycott of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, held under the aegis of the Nazi regime, had a significant ideological and political content.

Historian Carolyn Marvin explains that the foundation of Brundage’s world outlook “was the proposition that Communism was an evil before which all other evils were insignificant.” His other views or beliefs included “admiration for Hitler’s apparent restoration of prosperity and order to Germany,” the conception “that those who did not work for a living in the United States were an anarchic human tide, and a suspicious anti-Semitism which feared the dissolution of Anglo-Protestant culture in a sea of ethnic aspirations.” Brundage described opposition to American participation in Berlin as a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy.”

The vile machinations of the Hitler regime in regard to the Olympics are also part of the historical record. The leading Nazi newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, editorialized in the strongest terms that no Jews or blacks from any country should be permitted to compete. Faced with the possibility of an international boycott, however, the Nazi government relented, even adding one token participant, a female fencer with a Jewish father, to the German team.

The fascist regime also temporarily took down signs denouncing Jews from areas of Berlin where visitors were likely to see them. The German Ministry of the Interior instructed the city’s police to round up all Romani as part of a “clean up” and place them in a concentration camp. Pro-Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl was in charge of filming the Olympics (she is portrayed ambiguously in Race by Carice van Houten), and produced her grandiose two-part documentary, Olympia (1938).

Racism and the Depression in the US, fascism and anti-communism, the run-up to the Second World War … big issues all of them.

Hopkins’ Race refers directly to a few of these questions, hints at others and merely side-steps another category.

The film suffers from a generally formulaic approach. James and Branton as Jesse Owens and Ruth Solomon are given little dramatic room to breathe. Their conventional, roller-coaster relationship does not shed much light on their personalities or the nature of the times. Nor does Owens’ affair with a woman he meets on the road as a now-famous athlete or his relations with his coach help out much. There is something hagiographic about the presentation of Owens in particular, although certain of his failings come in for treatment.

The general dramatic arc of Race is predictable—initial difficulties, first successes, crisis and failure, final triumph. Even if the viewer did not know ahead of time how Owens would ultimately fare in Berlin, he or she would have little difficulty in seeing what was coming.

Sudeikis is more impressive as Snyder. The actor-comic has performed amusingly in a number of works, but smugness (for example, in the Horrible Bosses films) has threatened to sabotage his efforts. Here he is relatively convincing as Owens’ hard-driven, but fair-minded coach. Irons is always on the mark, although the portrayal of Brundage is not as devastating as it might have been. Kross (The Reader) is memorable as Luz Long, as is Metschurat as the menacing, monstrous Goebbels and Andrew Moodie, in a small part, as Owens’ long-suffering father.

To its credit, the film is not laced with identity politics, but a more “old fashioned” liberal humanism. Race, despite its title, preaches a sort of solidarity of Jews, blacks and anti-Nazi Germans against Hitler and pro-fascist Americans.

There are distinct limitations to this approach. Hopkins’ presentation of various racist and anti-Semitic incidents, although moving, is largely devoid of any historical content or deeper understanding of the social forces involved.

The weakest aspect of Race is its attitude to the various questions of political or moral principle that arise: the first involves US participation or boycott of the Berlin Olympics; the second, Owens’ decision to go or stay home; and, finally, the exclusion of the Jewish athletes from the relay race and the response of the rest of the American Olympic team.

In each case, Hopkins and screenwriters Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse create justifications for the various, often self-serving decisions taken by the characters, thus allowing the narrative to move forward toward its inexorable conclusion.