OJPCR: The Online Journal of
Peace and Conflict Resolution is a resource for students, teachers and
practitioners in fields relating to the reduction and elimination of
destructive conflict. It is a free, yet valuable, source of information to aid
anyone trying to work toward a less violent and more cooperative
Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding
Violence to Peace: Terrorism and Human Rights in Sri Lanka
Empowerment as the Missing Ingredient for a Resolution of the Israel/Palestine
Creating a More Peaceful Classroom Community by Assessing Student
Participation and Process
Democracy (Not Practice It): Explanations of Dyadic Democratic Intervention
the Colombia Peace Process Fail?
Reconciliation: The Road Not Taken in Namibia
Crisis Response Initiative: Its Workability as a Framework for Conflict
Prevention and Resolution
Culture, Gender, Power and Conflict in Melanie Thernstrom's
Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder
Perpetual Peace: A New Look at this Centuries-Old Quest
of Bloody Sunday
Jewish Group: Highlighting the Culture Problem in Nation-States
How Can I
Teach Peace When the Book Only Covers War?
Cooperation in Pluralistic Societies: An Analytic Mathematical
Publications of Interest
Directed by Aviva Ziegler
58 minutes, color.
First Run / Icarus Films
purchase, $75 rental. VHS.
In 1994, four men tried to rob a suburban
Pizza Hut in New Zealand. The robbery did not go according to plan and one of
the men shot and killed Michael Marslew, one of the employees. Although these
events are briefly recounted, along with the criminal proceedings after the men
were arrested, Facing the Demons focuses on the efforts of Senior
Sergeant Terry O'Conner of the New South Wales Police Service Restorative
Justice Group 4 ½ years later to arrange and facilitate a "restorative
justice conference" between those effected by the crime.
conference can be arranged, O'Conner must deal with the emotions of the
parties. He is unable to convince two of the four individuals involved in the
robbery to participate, but is able to overcome reluctance on the part of
Marslew's family and friends. This reluctance is addressed well in the film.
Marslew's mother is originally opposed to any form of restorative justice,
stating "In the old days, they used to let the family stone them to death. I
think that was a very just punishment for people." Likewise, one of Marslew's
co-workers who was present at the robbery says, "If it is going to make it
easier on them, I'm not sure I would want that."
Along with these
emotional concerns, O'Conner must deal with other practical objections familiar
to many of out readers. On one hand, the families of the perpetrators are
worried about the publicity that will be associated with the process, since
Marslew's father has since started an anti-crime nonprofit and is reasonably
well know. Also, in a very human moment, one of the co-workers asks if the
conference date is flexible, since it falls on the day of her office Christmas
party. It is a tribute to this film that these concerns are not trivialized and
instead are presented as legitimate experiences in the process.
conference itself, a single meeting taking place in a circle of chairs in a
room apparently at a NSW police facility, involves two of the perpetrators, two
of their parents, the parents of Marslew, with their spouses looking on (they
had divorced before the murder), two of Marslew's friends and three of his
Of course, the film cannot show all of the conference, but
it makes clear the basic format O'Connor uses, by moving around the circle and
asking each participant questions to encourage communication. This process is
emotional, but also subdued, at least until Marslew's mother pulls his ashes
out of her purse and tosses them into the middle of the circle.
surprising to learn that after such a session the participants - including the
perpetrators who had been brought from prison - are apparently moved to a room
for some food and the opportunity to talk in smaller groups. It is unfortunate
that more of these conversations do not appear in the film.
conference, the film shows short interviews with the participants indicating
they were generally pleased with the process, although Marlsew's mother was
less so. As she states, the conference did not bring her the resolution she had
sought, since it did not bring back her son.
As an introduction and
illustration of restorative justice, Facing the Demons is a compelling
and useful tool. The film could have been strengthened by showing the
participants farther past the conference, but it is impossible to pick an end
point for a presentation such as this and not have viewers asking, "but what
Best Film: Western Psychological Association,
Logie Award, Best Television Documentary, 2000
A film by Ram Loevy
53 minutes, color. 2002
First Run / Icarus Films
$390 purchase, $75
When Ram Loevy began gathering the material that became
Close, Closed, Closure, I believe he was trying to tell a story of hope.
He focused on a Palestinian family living in Gaza whose son had lost his legs
after not being allowed to cross into Israel in an ambulance. One of the first
sequences shows the boy handily sliding into his prostheses and leaving to play
with friends. At the same time, he hoped to show the difficulty of living in
Gaza even after the signing of the Oslo accords.
However, the events
leading up to the second Intifada caught Loevy only half completed with the
project. As a result, it appears he seriously questioned his hope about the
possibility of peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.
this come out in an ongoing discussion of the possibility of film making a
difference in conflict. Early on, Loevy notes that objects recorded on film
become symbols, faces lose their idiosyncrasies, and in general life is
simplified. He is concerned that this serves to reinforce the perspectives of
opposing sides and wonders explicitly if film could ever be a way to step into
the shoes of another. After the second Intifada starts, he visits the family
again, but this visit is marred by the discomfort both sides are feeling. The
mother goes so far as to say, "Can this film help me and my family?" when she
clearly feels the answer is no.
Likewise, Loery seems to hold out little
hope for the peace movement in Israel. Discussions by the left and right in
Israel are depicted in a series of exchanges between peace activists who set up
roadside protests and the hardline Israelis who stop to argue. At one point, he
even notes that the same hardliners show up every day to have the same debates.
Close, Closed, Closure is not the definitive film on the
Israel-Palestine conflict, but it is an excellent window into the mind of
someone who hopes to create peace and justice and is unsure of how exactly to
do that. I expect the uncertainty Loevy feels will resonate with many viewers.
Loevy closes the film with a shot of the Palestinian boy flying a kite and a
statement about the universality of this experience, but even then it seems he
is asking a question than answering one. It is this tone that separates Close,
Closed, Closure from many other films about conflicts. This film, primarily
through circumstance and Loery's honesty, captures the uncertainty and
disillusionment that can happen to the most well-intentioned people who try to
get involved. In the end, I don't think the message of the film is universally
negative, but it does put forth questions that may be uncomfortable for those
of us working for peace.
International Independence Award, 2002
North-South Media Festival (Geneva)
2002 Cinema du Reel (Paris)
War and Peace
A film by Anand Patwardhan
136 minutes, color.
First Run / Icarus Films
purchase, $150 rental. VHS
War and Peace is a ranging
documentary loosely based on the effects of the 1998 nuclear tests of India and
Pakistan. While Anand Patwardhan is concerned with the jingoistic response to
these events, especially when placed in the context of the country of Gandhi,
this file go farther to examine the responsibility of the United States in the
current nuclear culture. This film was recently cleared to screen in India, the
result of an extensive challenge by censors.
Patwardhan is concerned
with both why India and Pakistan are viewed as being the most likely nuclear
battlefield and how our world got to a place where this is even considered. By
hearing the constant anti-Pakistan rhetoric in India, Patwardhan became
convinced that Pakistanis in general were supportive of conflict, but when he
traveled to Pakistan he found many like-minded activists. This film carefully
illustrates the extent to which antagonism in India and Pakistan is the result
of a constant stream of nationalistic propaganda.
The subcontinent is
not Patwardhan's only focus. He also discusses the role of the US in
instigating nuclear warfare by examining the destruction in Hiroshima, the
Enola Gay controversy at the Smithsonian Institution, and the debate over the
Truman administration's decision to drop the bombs.
This film truly
covers so much ground that it must been seen to be appreciated. War and
Peace should be of interest to anyone working for peace.
Association for Asian Studies Conference Film Festival
Critics Award (FIPRESCI)
2002 Syndey International Film Festival
Prize, 2002 Earth Vision Film Festival (Tokyo)
Best Film, 2002 Mumbai
International Film Festival
International Jury Prize, Mumbai International
2002 Berlin International Film Festival
Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our
A Film by John Junkerman
Produced by Tetsujiro
First Run / Icarus Films
minutes, color. 2002
$248 purchase, $100 rental. VHS.
Terror is primarily made up of footage from Speeches Noam Chomsky gave in
the Spring of 2002 and an extended interview produced for Japanese TV. The
inclusion of a Japanese-language pop song at the beginning notwithstanding, the
fragmented nature of the source material does not impair the viewer's ability
to follow Chomsky's presentation and arguments.
illustrated in Power and Terror are not a departure from his previous
work, especially his book 9-11. Primarily, this focuses on developing a moral
standard against violence and applying it across the board to various actors.
While many commentators key on the implications of this for American foreign
policy, Chomsky clearly is concerned with violence against civilians in
general, not just when committed by those countries in power.
introduction to the current state of Chomsky's political views, Power and
Terror functions well. However, it does not present the breadth and depth
necessary to be a balanced look at the man and his work.
East Studies Film Festival
|Gacaca: Living Together in
Directed by Anne Aghion
Produced by Philip Brooks,
Laurent Bocahut, and Anne Aghion
55 minutes, Color. 2002
First Run / Icarus Films
Rental $75 VHS
The Gacaca process was instituted by the government of
Rwanda as a way of addressing the immense number of incarcerated individuals
accused of crimes during the genocide of 1994. As this film explains, Gacaca
allows certain individuals to be tried by the village where the crimes occurred
instead of by a formal court of law or UN tribunal.
As a representative
of the state explains to the people in the village, Rwanda sees the accused as
falling into four categories. Leaders of the violence and those who encouraged
it in the press and radio will be tried by the UN tribunal, where capital
punishment is the sentence. Ordinary citizens found guilty of murder by the
Gacaca process will be sentenced to 25 years to life. If they are found to be
blameless, which seems to apply to cases where the individual was forced to
kill, will have their sentences cut in half, with only half of that spent in
prison and the other half at home, completing 2-3 days of community service per
week. A third group will be those guilty of wounding another and the fourth
those guilty of stealing. In the case of stealing, a simple restitution will be
At this point the film loses its focus. While it clearly shows a
governmental representative stating that the village will be setting sentences,
when the actual process begins it seems he is. Similarly, while the hillside
pre-Gacaca meeting is presented as it happens, Aghion includes footage from the
detainment camp from a year before, apparently showing slightly coerced
confessions. The implication of these confessions is never explained.
Similarly, the footage of the process itself is intercut with
interviews with people from the village, who universally dislike the process.
They state that they feel they cannot accuse anyone at the meeting for fear of
reprisal and that they want retributive justice. As one man who is shown
repeatedly states, no one will know killing is wrong unless they are killed for
killing. Since there are no casual interviews with supporters of the process,
the viewer is left wondering if there is truly universal disapproval of this
process or if the film is intended to discredit Gacaca. I would assume the
question mark in the title lends more credence to the latter.
someone studying the Rwandan genocide and reconciliation efforts, Gacaca:
Living Together in Rwanda? will provide a view seldom seen. For a class or
individual without a good understanding of the context of the reconciliation
project and its workings, supplemental material will be necessary. For the
first part of the film, this context is provided by voiceover, but this
disappears partway through and is not present when it could be used to explain
exactly what is happening and how it fits together.
2003 Human Rights
Watch Film Festival
2003 Amnesty International Film Festival
Bourdieu: Sociology is a Martial Art
Directed by Pierre
Produced by Annie Gonzalez and Véronique Frégosi
First Run / Icarus Films
Sale $490, rental
Pierre Bourdieu was concerned with the violence and
domination inherent in contemporary social life. Bourdieu was not content to
allow academic life to be simply reactive and felt that sociology could be used
- and should be used -- to improve the conditions of individuals' lives.
Pierre Bourdieu: Sociology is a Martial Art is a film by Pierre
Carles, documents Bourdieu the man more than Bourdieu the theorist, but this is
a good thing. The film was shot over three years and shows Bourdieu in a number
of settings. Carles is especially good at humanizing his subject since the film
otherwise could have come across as a two-hour lecture.