The Siege of Jadotville – The Irishmen that fought finally given recognition

There hasn’t been as much of a buzz about a Netflix production since last year when the world was gripped by the Making a Murderer series. This time round social media is going wild particularly this side of the water for their latest installment – The Siege of Jadotville.

The story based on true events written by Declan Power, is one about Irish peacekeepers and their time spent in the Congo. Doesn’t sound like you type of film? Don’t judge too quickly this film will thrill, excite and by the end leave you with feelings of anger.

So simply this film is about a group of Irish UN Peacekeepers, who are sent to the Congo. While there they become involved in a bloody battle with Belgian and French mercenaries for control of a small town. The film stars big names such as Irishman Jamie Dornan who became a world wide sensation of his portal as Mr Grey in 50 Shades of Grey. So what is all the fuss about? Surely if you have seen one war film you have seen them all right?

That’s how I felt before I tuned in, how wrong was I. The Siege of Jadotville took place in September 1961, the Irish UN military mission were sent to a small mining town in the Katanga region of Congo-Léopoldville.

While there they were attacked by Katanga Gendarmerie troops loyal to the Katangese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe. The story is so much more than just conflict it tells the story of a group of men whose first introduction with combat saw them defending their lives.

The intentions of this film are clear by the end. There is a large focus on portraying these brave men in the correct light and to give them the recognition they deserve after years of being viewed as cowards by not just the UN but also the Irish Government. The Irish company fought off an overwhelmingly larger force for several days with no back up from the UN or any other forces. Midway through this film you are treated to a right battle where you forget that these are just Irish lads there to keep the peace and protect the people of that community.

It’s not all serious though there are many moments throughout that will bring a smile to your face. With light hearted Irish humour. Jamie Dornan plays the role of Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan. Pat is the main man who leads a stand off with troops against French and Belgian Mercenaries in the Congo. Although he is presented with many life and death situations he still finds the time to entertain the audience with some brilliant one-liners throughout.

Not one member of the Irish Defence Forces died during the six day battle, a fact that is simply remarkable considering what they faced. This film tells the true story of one of the darkest moments in recent Irish history and that’s not just because of attack but because of how the men were treated upon arriving home to Ireland.

Many of you will have never heard of The Siege Of Jadotville, I had but that was because the Author of the book was my journalism lecturer in College back in the day. It’s a moment in Irish history that should be remembered.

The story is a fascinating one and the way in which the soldiers were treated by the Irish Government and the UN following the events depicted was utterly disgraceful.

The Siege of Jadoville is certainly one not to miss – Catch it on Netflix now!

About Rachel Lynch

Rachel Lynch
Journalist with InTallaght.

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