Last night I attended the opening of a very important movie entitled as we forgive. It is the cornerstone of the “as we forgive Rwanda Initiative”; a non-profit public/private partnership to encourage greater dialogue about the process of repentance, forgiveness and ultimately reconciliation. It has relevance for Rwanda but all who see it will find ways to use the process to help themselves move toward reconciliation in their own lives.
The award-winning documentary (Gold Winner, Student Academy Awards in 2008) will be used as an educational tool in schools, churches, prisons, and villages. The initiative will encompass a nationwide tour and discussion program to encourage honest and healing conversations about this very difficult subject. A group of dedicated professionals trained in different reconciliation techniques will customize the program for each audience. They have also developed metrics to determine if and how successful they are in reaching their goals (to be determined based on the audience).
I was impressed with the movie, the four main characters and their stories (they were in attendance at the launch party), and how the Initiative was presented. The US Ambassador introduced the film by telling his story of how the film affected him when he first saw it last year and how he uses as part of the orientation in Rwanda and suggested it be used in every location that is or has been involved in conflict. An incredible Anglican clergyman and the Minister of Culture also spoke eloquently about the project and their hopes. One of the main proponents for this project was not able to attend because he is recuperating from surgery; Bishop John. He runs a Prison Ministry and the reconciliation program was his brainchild after the genocide. He is interviewed throughout the film and based on books I have read; he is a powerhouse in Rwanda. I am hopeful he returns to his ministry before I leave so I can meet him. Gregor mentioned him to me before I left and said I must meet him!
The film tells the story of two women survivors of the genocide who come face to face with their families killers and chose the painful but hopeful journey of reconciliation. Talk about powerful stories… The film was the master’s thesis for Laura Waters Hinson and I have included the website if you would like more information.