Imagine being dropped off in the middle of Iraq’s most dangerous warzone during the peak of the war. Now imagine that same type of warzone existed right here on US soil. It sounds like a pretty terrifying situation, but this situation is a reality to the residents of Southside, Chicago. Over the years Chicago has been plagued by an extreme level of violence and it is often compared a warzone.
The combination of gun violence and gang-wars creates an annual death toll in the city that comes horribly close to the numbers that we see overseas. Since of the city’s incline in violence and devastation British filmmaker, Will Robson-Scott gave the Windy City the new nickname, Chi-Raq. This is also the title for his acclaimed documentary, in which he enters the heart of the violence in the South and Westside of Chicago to get a firsthand account of the mayhem.
Robson-Scott attempts to offer explanations for why these circumstances arise and end as badly as they do. Chi-Raq is only about 13 minutes long. But in that short timespan, the documentary explores conditions that are tough for many to fathom, such as the idea of taking a walk or going to the gas station, which can truly put one’s life in danger.
The members that are affiliated with gang activities are getting younger and join gangs for various reasons. The reality is that war is taking place in our own backyards and not enough is being done to stop the inhumanity. While we enjoy our security and many conveniences, the death toll in Chicago keeps rising and the caskets just keep getting smaller and smaller.
-Written by Vladimir Crevecoeur