Lasr week the Film "One Day After Peace" won the first Prize "Grand Prix" at Human Rights Film Festival at Paris France.
also EMRO review Reviewed
by Jennifer Dean, MALS student, City Univerity of New York (CUNY Graduate
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, riginally 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
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 intercut 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 principle
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.