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Western justice -- a Special Court established to prosecute the worst perpetrators of violence, and even a Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- barely scratched the surface of the matter. One of them later videotapes a message for her brother: "Don't be afraid," she pleads. The commander opens up to John Caulker and begins speaking truthfully, for the first time, about what he did in the war.
But human-rights activist John Caulker was convinced that within the broken traditions of his native country -- the culture of vital connection, of truth-telling and forgiveness -- lay the seeds of reconciliation. So Caulker founded an organization called Fambul Tok, which means, in Krio, "Family Talk." In its first two years, it has conducted 55 healing ceremonies in villages throughout Sierra Leone -- some of which are the subject of a searing documentary called , one of the entries this year in Chicago's Peace on Earth Film Festival. Dozens or maybe hundreds of villagers are sitting around the fire, drumming, chanting. And so the reconciliation process continues, and Sierra Leone slowly rebuilds itself.
Because maybe then, we might begin to learn why forgiveness is possible for the rest of us." "Fifteen men beat us and raped us .
A large part of the film revolves around the search for a man named Tamba Joe, a villager who joined the rebels and was responsible for some of the most gruesome violence imaginable.
That man I still see around -- whenever I see him I feel afraid." This was during Sierra Leone's civil war, 11 years of hell that ended in 2002 but in point of fact hasn't really ended, because the survivors, their culture shattered, their sense of community broken, were left in a state of seemingly unbridgeable mistrust of one another. Many more were crippled and disfigured; thousands of children were abducted and turned, on pain of death, into child soldiers -- into murderers. As the film progresses, the stories of violence and horror intensify. They were little boys when the rebels came into their village. He came back to his old village and led a massacre of former neighbors and friends, including their children.