Beyond Walls: The most difficult conflict is internal

* Beyond Walls: Trailer, BeyondWallsFilm: About.

Beyond Walls Trailer

Tom Ciaburri, 26 Nov 2015

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Gerard Foster: I don’t think there’s peace here. What I think it is is conflict management. If there was peace here, why are these walls still here? Who won, who lost? All those who died, thats for sure.

Bassam Aramin: There is no reconciliation without forgiveness. In the same time there is no reconciliation without truth. We need to tell the truth.

Louise Little: We are in a society at the moment who like to pretend that its all fixed. The peace process has been successful, and we just need to move on. And I work on the whole with people who can still be born, and educated, and socialize, and marry, and work, and die, within only the group of people that they were born amongst.

Themba Lonzi: In places where there has been conflict there’s definitely a need for people to have sacred spaces to confront their own demons. Where they can be able to cough out the poisonous feeligns that they have inside.

Wilhelm Verwoerd: How can we move beyond hatred, beyond violence, beyond bitterness? We are going to work with people in different conflict zones, people who have been involved and affected by deep violent conflict.

Alastair Little: This is not about agreeing with each other about everything, or losing anything of yourself in terms of your beliefs and aspirations, but that it is possible to have conversations at that very human level which helps to deepen understanding.

Louise Little: If we don’t show people another way, there is only one way that is going to seem logical to them whenever they are not being listened to.

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About Beyond Walls:

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Beyond Walls is a feature length documentary about people who’ve held guns and set off bombs; people who’ve lost friends and family through violent political conflict; people who have been at the brink of despair, but who’ve now dedicated their lives to a journey of seeing the enemy not as a monster, but a living, breathing, human being. They’re living with the realization that we do not have to be imprisoned by our anger, by our trauma, by our desire for revenge. The cycle of blood can be stopped.

Synopsis

Ten former combatants and survivors from each side of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the conflict in and about Northern Ireland, and South African Apartheid travel together on a wilderness trail throughHluhluwe–iMfolozi Nature Reserve in South Africa. They have all participated in reconciliation work before, but now must rely on their former enemies for survival. The story of their 5 day trek will be supplemented with clips from the group’s year-round reconciliation work, including the backstories of the facilitators and participants, supplemented by animations to provide contextual depth.

All of the people involved in this trek know full well that the “easiest” and most direct path to trying to solve conflict is via violence. It is much easier to try to kill your enemy than trying to listen to them.. Peacework, on the other hand, is a deeply personal internal struggle, that can’t be easily be articulated, and far less tangible than violence. The wilderness journey conveys the risks, challenges, and vulnerabilities that come with peacemaking between former enemies. The experience of the wilderness trail strips participants from all the comforts of civilization, and takes them into a place of shared vulnerabilities. What makes one “human” becomes clearer the further they travel along the river. Three days in, the walls built up by conflict begin to fall. Soon, there is honest space for dialogue. They talk, they disagree, they listen.

Participants work through the trail just as they do their own re-humanization and re-humanization of others around them. This journey is the river that runs through the heart of the film. It will allow the characters to be both on a physical and emotional journey, and thus be a driving force of the narrative.

This film is about a group of human beings who believe that we do not have to be imprisoned by our anger, by our trauma, by our desire for revenge. They carry all of those feelings with them, yet they believe that the cycle of blood can be stopped. They’re all on their own very different journeys of reconciliation, bringing all of their divisive memories and stories in their physical and metaphorical backpacks on the journey through the wilderness. As the physical contents of the backpacks are depleted through the trek, so does the emotional baggage. By the end everyone is absolutely filthy on the outside, but recharged with a sense of rooted connectedness, through the shared experience of being together in this wild setting. Inside they are clean. These are people who are agents of change in their own communities, and the beacon of purity, of a light that is rooted in the wilderness, is what they will bring back home with them after the trek.

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