Can a shelter become a prison? "We cannot leave the camp neither go back to our country nor prosper". At the same time, can a shelter become homeland? "In this place I grow myself, I studied, worked and became father. I feel home". This is a contradiction faced by refugees of the largest camp worldwide, Dadaab, in north-eastern Kenya.
This is the case of Omar, Hassan and Mohamed, three Somalian young men who arrived to Dadaab in 1991, when the war started in Somalia and the camp was created. Their memories of their previous lives are reduced to some blurry images. In these two decades, they have become part of an incipient middle class, but despite that, their aim is to get one of the prized visas to start a new life in another country.
While they think on leaving, 6.000 people arrive every month from Somalia. N-0 is one of the areas where new arrivals are settled and Mohamed Alí is its leader. For them, the camp means safety, but restarting life there is difficult either.
A few of them leave; a lot arrive; all of them "hoping the best but prepared for the worst".
Those who fought the war imposed silence. They could do so because they still have power. The political elite in Lebanon neither assumed their guilt in a conflict that pitted the country's communities nor held external actors accountable for their participation. Their objective has been to build a new country over the ruins of the old one in order to forget the war. The words justice, truth and reconciliation are not on the political agenda, but there are voices still crying courageous. "I can not reconcile with the criminal if I do not know the truth. Then I will decide whether to forgive or not", says Wadada Halwani, president of the Committee of Families of the Kidnapped and Missing persons in Lebanon.
The long way towards peace starts just after the signature of the peace agreements, when the complex and difficult process of building peace, memory, truth, reconciliation and justice for all the victims begins. The documentaries of the ‘After Peace' project seek to analyze and explain different paths taken by various countries who suffered an armed conflict in the last quarter of the 20th century. Researchers, activists for peace and reconciliation, victims, lawyers and educators expose what has been done and what has been ignored in their countries and talk about their experiences.
The long way towards peace starts just after the signature of the peace agreements, when the complex and difficult process of building peace, memory, truth, reconciliation and justice for all the victims begins. The documentaries of the ‘After Peace' project seek to analyze and explain different ways taken by various countries who suffered an armed conflict in the last quarter of the 20th century. Researchers, activists for peace and reconciliation, victims, lawyers and educators expose what has been done and what has been ignored in their countries and talk about their experiences.
The Dayton Peace Accords divided Bosnia Herzegovina into two entities. The deal left a "very complicated system, as it was created in order to protect the fragile ethnic balance at all levels," says Srecko Latal, an analyst of the International Crisis Group. Moreover, the consequences of Dayton are still tangible in society. The education system segregates students by their ethnic, thousands of people live in camps while others search for their missing relatives. Nowadays, forgiveness is still far but part of civil society believes in reconciliation and work to achieve it and for the reparation of the victims.
After its war, Guatemala had two Truth Commissions, one driven by the UN and the other by the Church. Both reports agree that the State is responsible for the majority of crimes committed during the conflict. They further point out that the State committed acts of genocide against the Mayan population. There were over 600 massacres like the one occurred on the community of Plan de Sánchez, that each year commemorates the crime. Even today, after 16 years, Guatemala fights a permanent battle both against oblivion and for justice. Institutions such as the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive, the Centre for Human Rights Legal Action or the Forensic Anthropology Foundation work -without the support of the State-, to repair victims still seeking a clue, those responsible for the disappearance of a family member or justice.
Nearly 20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, reconciliation between ex-prisoners and survivors has been a blessing and a curse, bringing villages together in forgiveness, while other victims live next-door to the very people who've committed atrocities that haven't been brought to justice.
"The first day we ex-prisoners and survivors sat face to face, we thought that the survivors would revenge. But they were also worried. They thought we had returned to commit another genocide," said a man who was imprisoned for eight years for the crimes he committed in 1994.
Reconciliation was the only way to survive and a political priority for the government that arose after the genocide and it is still in power. The justice of the Gacaca Courts — which were formed to convict people who committed war crimes — the government and the press all pushed on that direction of reconciliation. But at the same time, it has been imposed, a one-way process that created cracks. The suffering and the wounds of so many atrocities are still present today.
This documentary is part of a series called the ‘After Peace' project, which seeks to analyze and explain how four countries (Rwanda, Lebanon, Guatemala and Bosnia-Herzegovina) have dealt an armed conflict in their country in the last quarter of the 20th century.
Documentary collection can be viewed here: http://transterramedia.com/collections/1254