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Debate the War in Afghanistan and Peacekeeping in Modern Diplomacy

Young Danish soldiers combat the Taliban in the name of peacekeeping and humanitarianism in Armadillo. However, in wartime, when one doesn't know who could be an enemy, official rhetoric about helping civilians is too often met with the unforgiving reality of being a foreign occupier. Use the film Armadillo to examine masculinity, foreign policy and peacekeeping in modern-day conflicts.
  • Host a debate on the advisability of pulling troops out of Afghanistan. Ask panelists how the content of Armadillo informs their views.

  • Use the film to kick off a speak-out for veterans to share stories about their military service.

  • Convene a joint youth/adult study circle to look at rites of passage into adulthood. Show the film to spark conversations about the role that military service has played in defining manhood.

  • Hold a panel discussion on the meaning of the term "peacekeeping" in modern diplomacy. Invite panelists to reflect on the connection between humanitarian and peacekeeping missions and the experiences of the soldiers stationed at Armadillo. Use what you learn about the capacity of military units to conduct humanitarian missions to examine the demands that your government makes on its military.

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

Armadillo is a journey into the soldier's mind and a unique investigation into the mythological story of man and war, staged in its contemporary version in Afghanistan. The film faithfully renders the soldiers' point of view but, in true vérité fashion, neither approves nor condemns what happens, allowing the ambiguities and contradictions of the battlefield — and the soldiers' evolving attitudes — to speak for themselves. This makes it an excellent springboard for discussion.

As an outreach tool, Armadillo provokes viewers to consider serious questions about the conflict in Afghanistan and war in general. How do you protect civilians when opponents don't wear uniforms and you can't distinguish allies from enemies? When is the presence of foreign troops more likely to exacerbate the conflict than keep the peace?

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will compare and contrast two news stories about an incident in which an improvised explosive device (I.E.D.) killed Danish soldiers in Afghanistan. They will then use a video clip from a documentary as an information source for writing news stories about a similar event. Finally, students will describe the impact that reports from different news sources can have on how events in Afghanistan are reported in the media.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multi-media resource list, compiled by Gina Blume of the Monroe Township Public Library, includes books, films and other materials related to the issues presented in the film Armadillo. Learn more about Denmark's foreign policy, war politics, and concepts of masculinity during times of war.

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The mission was to bring the war on Afghanistan back into people’s living rooms and make them engaged. There was a feeling that nobody was really caring that there was a war in Afghanistan.”

— Janus Metz, Filmmaker

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