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Democracy Films, 1989. VHS cassette, 58:00 min., $350.00
Distributed by Visual Education Centre, 75 Horner Ave., Unit 1, Toronto, Ontario M3Z 4X5.

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by Michele F. Kallio.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

Volume five of the series, The Rule of Law, travels from Canada to Holland, Greece, England, the United States and Nazi Germany asking if the law should uphold the rights of the individual or the interests of the community.

In Canada Watson discusses police spot-checks and wonders if these are violation of individual rights. In Amsterdam Watson reveals a commu­nity that is famous for its tolerance and freedom of action. Amsterdam contin­ues in its historical view that laws are made in favour of the people. While pornography and drugs are illegal in Holland, the government tolerates both.

Traveling to Greece, Watson takes us to the birth place of democracy, Athens, where in 508 b.c. democracy was founded. Here we study the trial of Socrates, whose persistent questioning of the policies of government led to his being accused of undermining the state.

In England we learn of the Magna Carta, which made all citizens equal before the law. Prior to Magna Carta, royalty was above the law. It stated that in a democracy all citizens are to have equal access to the law.

In the United States Watson exam­ines the Bill of Rights. Congress makes the laws but the Supreme Court ensures the fairness of those laws. Watson looks at racial segregation and two great court decisions that led to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The video examines the beginnings of the changes that would alter the moral fibre of the entire country.

But laws are not always used for the common good. In Nazi Germany the laws of the country were used for evil purposes and 12 million people died. Watson discusses the effects the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials had on the development of a code of ethics for the protection of the individual from the state and the formation of the World Court of Human Rights in Luxembourg.

The series is excellent. The photo­graphy and technical quality are unsurpassed. This series is highly recommended and should be included in all political science courses as manda­tory viewing.

Michele F. Kallio, Arichat, N.S.
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