Can there ever be peace without justice?

Read about the involvement in Scotland's African Film Festival.

The Peacebuilding Through Media Arts project is sponsoring three screenings at this year’s Scotland African Film Festival, and after attending last night, I have to say we can be proud of having anything at all to do with such vital and moving works of ‘media art’.

The showings of the first 2 documentaries were attended by a lively, engaged crowd (you could tell their political sensitivity from the way the noisy chattering through all the adverts abruptly ceased – no dissenting voices – as a picture of the occupied West Bank came up at the beginning of a trailer). And it was pretty much a full house.

The first short film, Peace Wanted Alive: Kenya at the Crossroads was about a grassroots peacebuilding initiative in Kenya said to be responsible for averting much bloodshed during during election violence of 2008. Powerful and punchy, it demonstrates a model of civic society peace building.

It was followed by Dear Mandela, an award-winning feature-length documentary following the progress of a movement fighting for the rights of those living in the euphemistically termed ‘informal settlements’ outside Durban. Eighteen years after the end of apartheid South Africa is still experiencing a divide of similar injustice and tragedy: that between rich and poor, symbolised here by the summary evictions and forced transportation of many so-called slum dwellers. The story had so many twists and turns it felt scripted, and so many fluent and engaging characters you might think they were actors; so many live dramatic scenes were shot you wondered how the director and crew knew where to be and when to shoot. But this was a real movement of ordinary people making a stand against both local opposition and a set of eviction laws they believed were unconstitutional. If I told you how it turned out, I’d have to put a spoiler alert at the top of the blog- let’s just say I was deeply moved, and that if you have a chance to see it, DO! And it seems only right to link to the ‘Take Action’ tab on the film’s website:

Dear Mandela

The third film we are sponsoring, Cry of Love, has its UK premiere in the Festival on Nov 1st at 8.15, the Filmhouse, Edinburgh. See you there?