There are so many wonderful materials to encourage our students to reflect on the real human potential for rebuilding relationships broken by violence while not understating the enormous difficulties involved. Here we focus on resources that encourage us to think about forgiveness and reconciliation through the personal lives of those on both sides of violence.
The One Million Viewers Campaign: Beyond Right and Wrong
In February 2014, filmmaker Lekha Singh launched the One Million Viewers campaign — an online campaign to promote the viewership of award-winning film, Beyond Right and Wrong. The film presents the stories of people who have experienced loss and the stories of people who have caused that loss. From the Rwandan Genocide to the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, people from different sides of the violence tell their stories—their anger or remorse, their pain, their paths to recovery. The trauma of violence, the value of truth, the complexities of forgiveness and the potential of reconciliation are all examined in this powerful film.
The film can be viewed free on-line at filmraise.com and, with every viewing, 50 cents is automatically given to a charity of your choice. This would make a great classroom project, and you can ask your students to leave comments on this website by clicking here.
The Empathy Library
This site is a digital treasure house of inspiring books and films. Join the library and help build the collection. From their current top ten list, you will find the following wonderful videos that encourage us to step out of ourselves and see the world through the eyes of others – a necessary step for reconciliation. The first is a wonderful animated film based on a talk by philosopher and author Roman Krznaric, who calls for a new culture of outrospection to replace the culture of introspection that dominated in the 20th century. The second is a short appeal by Save the Children that powerfully places a British child into the life of a child caught up in the chaos of war.
“My Father is a Terrorist”
In this powerful Ted’s Talk, Zak Ebrahim talks of growing up in a family environment which promoted hatred and extremism and the life experiences which led him to take a different path. His experiences of being bullied gave him a sense of what it was to be a victim of violence, while his world view shifted as he began to encounter the people he had been taught to hate.
The film, Coexist, asks the following question: when hate persists, how will you coexist? The film tells the stories of several survivors of the Rwandan genocide who are trying to move on with their lives while having to live side by side with the perpetrators who have returned to their villages. The filmmakers have created many teaching resources as part of their Upstander Project, which aims to foster larger thinking about the problem of “othering” and the need to build inclusive school cultures.
Talking about the Ideas
Claire Elliott from the Dawson Library has come up with some ideas to launch a classroom discussion on the concepts of truth and reconciliation.
- the quality or state of being true.
“he had to accept the truth of her accusation”
- that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
- a fact or belief that is accepted as true.
Consider this statement:
“What is truth? Truth doesn’t really exist. Who is going to judge whether my experience of an incident is more valid than yours? No one can be trusted to be the judge of that.” (Tracey Emin)
Have you ever been in a conflict like the one suggested above? What was the “truth” of the situation? What were the “facts”? Would your ‘opponent’ accept, or dispute, your version of events? If so, how do you account for this difference in perception? Can you think of a situation where the facts were not consistent with the truth?
noun: reconciliation; plural noun: reconciliations
- the restoration of friendly relations.
- the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.
Think of a conflict you have experienced… Were you able to “reconcile” your views or feelings? If so, were you satisfied with the outcome? Was it “friendly” or only “compatible”? We’d love to hear your thoughts or stories of “reconciliation”: Is it possible? Why is it important? How do we do it? Where do we start?