An Uplifting Story about Reconciliation and Forgiveness
Fambul Tok, which had its World Premiere at Austin's SXSW Film Festival this week, is a truly inspiring documentary. It takes us to the aftermath of the brutal Civil War in Sierra Leone and shows us an organic grassroots process through which a broken country is attempting to heal its wounds. Through a process that is brilliant in its simplicity Fambul Tok shows us how the people of Sierra Leone's small villages are gathering together around bonfires and forgiving each other for the murders and rapes that that tore their country apart. Fambul Tok is beautifully and courageously filmed. The power of the simple act of apology and forgiveness that is demonstrated is remarkable and awe-inspiring. The film demonstrates that humans can forgive almost anything when they open their hearts and let go of their anger.
Perhaps there is a lesson for Americans here. Decades after the traumas of Vietnam, Watergate, and the Civil Rights movement, the United States seems as divided by issues of race, class, age, religion, ideology as it ever has been. While the process would have to be different in a large urbanized nation, we need to begin to consider how we can heal the wounds and divisions in the United States that have left us with a broken social contract, a divided society, and a polarized political debate. Perhaps we can learn from the people of Sierra Leone how to begin our own healing process.
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