There were a number of overlapping UN and US interventions in Somalia in the early 1990s. During 1993, the US military became involved in a manhunt for the Somali 'warlord' General Mohammed Farah Aidid, culminating in an abortive raid which resulted in the deaths of 18 US troops in October 1993. The event which prompted the greatest number of articles critically evaluating the role of the media was the landing of US troops at the start of Operation Restore Hope. Operation Restore Hope was the first major instance of post-Cold War humanitarian military intervention, following the precedent set by the establishment of 'safe havens' for Iraqi Kurds and other minorities at the end of the 1991 Gulf war. The crisis in Somalia tended to be understood as a problem of disorder and division. Even more marginal was criticism of the fact that the military intervention undermined Somalia's sovereignty.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.