Tuesday, December 06, 2011

War Dance

While watching the documentry channel a few days ago, I came across this incredible documentary called War Dance that follows the Acholi tribe as they prepare the Bwoli and other dances/songs for an intertribal competition in the National Music Festival in Kampala. At the competition, the other tribes insult the children for being from Northern Uganda, accusing them of being murderers from the bush. The group ended up taking home a number of awards- it was really inspiring to see that so many children who had come from such frightening and horrible circumstances could come together to create something so beautiful. As the children sang, they all had such genuine, beautiful, and contagious smiles

While there is a happy ending, the rest of the film is filled with heartbreaking moments. I started watching as a young, former child soldier of the LRA (no more than 12) traveled to a military camp, photo of his brother in hand. He came to see the lieutenant, and asked if he could talk to the rebel they had caught just a few days prior. The lieutenant obliged and the boy sat down with this rebel and asked if he had seen the boy’s brother. The rebel explained that the brother was likely dead. “I will tell my mother so we can go on with our lives,” the boy said bravely. I felt my heart sink as the boy looked at the rebel in the eye and said, “Why did you capture me, and capture children like me?” The rebel looked uneasy and lowered his eyes; finally, he said, “if you want a strong family, you must have a lot of children.”

I recall reading in Lukwago’s narrative of how he was forced to kill his friend, but when this Ugandan child looked into the camera and explained how he was forced by the rebels to take hoes to the back of facedown farmers, I got a bit teary-eyed. These were not just words on a page, this was a face, a life with a story. “I have never even told my mother that I have killed; you are the first to know,” he confessed after explaining the graphic details. Those who cried would be killed; those who refused to kill would be killed themselves. This film is definitely worth a watch; It really is moving. I can try to get it on NetFlix if anyone is interested in a break over reading days!

No comments: