The film featuring Khulumani Mamelodi Mother of the Disappeared, Mrs Maria Ntuli wins the first Prize “Grand Prix” at the Paris Human Rights Film Festival last week.
Last week the Film “One Day After Peace” won the first Prize “Grand Prix” at Human Rights Film Festival at Paris France. See review: http://paris-planete.blogs.la-croix.com/de-lafrique-du-sud-a-israel.
The film making team worked with Khulumani Support Group to find and to meet South African mothers who had lost their sons through abduction and assassination by apartheid security agents. Mrs Maria Ntuli, Khulumani coordinator in Mamelodi township, is interviewed in the film about her pain at finding out through the TRC how her son had been targetted for ‘elimination’ because he was a student activist.
Robi Damelin’s son was killed at an Israeli military checkpoint by a Palestinian sniper. Both Robi and Maria have made efforts to meet those involved in the killing of their sons – stories of two mothers, one black and one white, whose life experiences brought them together as they have had to face a future without the presence of a much-loved child.
The Peace and Collaborative Development Network carried the following story, reported by Nahum Laufer, today, February 23, 2013 of the awarding of the first Prize “Grand Prix” at Human Rights Film Festival at Paris France.
One Day After Peace follows the journey of Robi Damelin, an Israeli woman whose son was killed by a Palestinian sniper while stationed at a checkpoint for the Israeli army, as she endeavors to come to terms with the killing of her son by forgiving his killer. Damelin, originally born in South Africa under Apartheid, travels back there in an attempt to understand how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) worked for the people of South Africa and how it might work for the Israelis and Palestinians.
The film proves to be an emotionally engrossing as well as intellectually thought-provoking journey. The directors do not shy away from the complicated questions that arise during conflicts and attempts at reconciliation. They adroitly inter-cut footage from South Africa and the Middle East, using video from TRC hearings, an incredibly insightful interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, discussions between Damelin and participants of the TRC (both South African revolutionaries and government officials who committed atrocities under Apartheid) and in Israel intimate scenes of Damelin’s personal conflict with her living son about her desire to forgive his brother’s killer, her meeting with Palestinian women who have lost children at the hands of the Israeli government and news footage regarding the potential release of her son’s killer.
The filmmakers never turn the camera away from the raw emotion presented by their subjects and do not insinuate that reconciliation is easy. They grapple with the complexities of mercy and highlight those who are unable to forgive as well as the stories of incredible acts of forgiveness by those who suffered great injustices. Ginn Fourie, whose daughter was killed in a bombing by South African freedom fighters, not only forgives those involved in the attack but since then has formed an alliance with the leader of the group to attempt to bring together people from both sides of the conflict.
In a discussion with Damelin she defines forgiveness as “a process in which you take a principled decision, to give up your justifiable right to revenge,” to which Damelin responds that perhaps she has forgiven her son’s killer. She goes on to raise questions of what constitutes revenge. The film not only delves into what it means to forgive but raises philosophical and practical distinctions between amnesty and reconciliation, acceptance and forgiveness.
The conclusion of the film illustrates most profoundly the dichotomies presented. Archbishop Tutu, smiling at the camera, tells the audience, “The TRC was based on the premise, the principle that it is possible for people to change, otherwise there is no point in having it. It will happen. It’s going to happen.” Moments later after an exchange with the interviewer and after Archbishop Tutu believes the camera has been turned off he bursts into tears. The hope exists but the process is not glossed over as being easy.
Khulumani counts it as a privilege to have known and worked with Robi Damelin, one of the founders of the Parents’ Circle, that brings together Israeli and Palestinian mothers who have lost sons as a result of the conflict, to strive for the establishment of peace in the Middle East. Congratulations on the winning of this prestigious award.