‘Savior Complex’ director on the dangers of ‘white saviorism’ | ET REALITY


“He went too far,” Abner Tagoola, head of pediatrics at Jinja Hospital, says in the documentary. “But Renée’s role in linking to the mortality of these children, so directly? I do not think. Because of the vulnerability of these children, there were many deaths that were inevitable.”

At the same time, the documents, blog posts and archival material obtained from inside Serving His Children are often damning; Bach appears to make diagnoses, administer tests and medications, and question the opinions and decisions of the black nurses and doctors on his staff.

What emerges is a messy portrait of a woman who worked to save the lives of many Ugandan children but who was also so confident in her faith that she became blind to earthly realities.

Bach has not been charged with any crime in Uganda or the United States, but in 2019 she was sued in a Ugandan civil court by Gimbo Zubeda, whose son Twalali died at the clinic, and by Kakai Annet, whose son Elijah also died after receive treatment. Bach and her charity settled the lawsuit in 2020, agreeing to pay about $9,500 to each of the mothers and avoiding admitting liability.

In a video conversation last week, Jesko talked about what drew her to Bach’s story and the dangers of blindly following “the call to help.” These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

What interested you most about Bach’s story?

As a director, I love stories where there is ambiguity. Those are the most interesting stories to tell. People on the Internet love black and white stories, be it this or that. But everything has shades of gray. It’s through the messiness of this story that we can see the really big picture of colonialism and the legacy that remains, the way that missionaries can operate in Uganda and the limits of activism, medical ethics, that kind of thing. . I have spent much of my career reporting in other countries, and as a white American, I have experienced firsthand the deference we are often given in some of these places.

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