Soldiers of Peace — A Film of Hope

February 26th, 2011 - by admin

Directed by Time Wise & Narrated by Michael Douglas / One Tree Productions – 2011-02-26 00:09:01

Soldiers of Peace
Directed by Time Wise & Narrated by Michael Douglas / One Tree Productions

Welcome to the new new world order…

We are bombarded with images of war. On the TV news, in our newspapers. The pictures pile up, and with them some solid assumptions. We assume that war is human nature. That there’s an epidemic of war and it’s only getting worse. That it’s too profitable for some businesses to be stopped. And too effective for some governments to give up. That war will be with us forever.

None of these things is true.
The world is changing.
We are changing.

The astonishing and astonishingly little-known fact is that the number of wars across the world is in fact dropping. Dramatically. We are actually in the grip of an outbreak of peace.

Away from the cameras, ordinary people everywhere are taking amazing steps to force peace out of trouble and violence. Even business — long assumed to be the dark driving force behind war — has worked out that there’s more money to be made in peace. The enterprises that profiteer from war are in the minority, and they’re shrinking.

And if those positive forces aren’t enough, there’s one very big reason already compelling us to evolve beyond our ancient human impulse to war: the planet. The challenges of global warming confront humankind with an absolute crossroads in our development as a species. The problems are by their nature, global — they cannot be solved by individual countries. And their solutions necessarily demand co-operation at a level we have yet to experience in human history. War cannot solve these problems. It can only make them insoluble. The only way to survive is to evolve, and become peaceful.

Director’s Statement
Our intention with this film is to put peace back on the agenda in the 21st Century. What Al Gore and “An Inconvenient Truth” achieved in highlighting the issues of global warming, “Soldiers of Peace” wants to achieve for global peace. I strongly believe that if we have more peace in the world then we will have the time and most importantly the resources to tackle the real threat facing humanity: global warming and climate change. Not the war on terror.

In a way, this film is a call to action to peace and to start focusing on peace. Peace must come from within, and we cannot rely on our Governments to act for us. We must act in every way possible. If, after watching this film, people feel moved and motivated to act in any way possible, whether they start talking to a neighbor after years of disagreement or begin addressing areas of conflict in their home, street, town or country — then we have achieved the aims of this film. People will be inspired to act after seeing this film.

Through the course of this film, we meet some amazing people and see what they are accomplishing around the world in the way of peace and reconciliation, sometimes in dangerous situations. We see that peace is in fact breaking out, regardless of the images of war we are bombarded with every day in the news. We look at how peace activists use the Internet to reach millions of people, which was unheard of even 10 years ago.

We tell stories of peace through grass roots activists around the world: unsung heroes who are working towards peace and have amazing stories that we could capture on camera. These people are rarely heard of in the news and its these characters that the audience will identify with. Their stories are entwined with our “peace experts” and notable individuals, who explain the key messages of the film and the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

The problems facing humanity are global in their nature and cannot be solved by individual countries. We must come together to tackle these issues. Wars are proving un-winnable and cannot solve these issues, and cost nations dearly.

Jo Berry & Pat Magee, Campaigners for Peace & Reconciliation s of Peace
When Sir Anthony Berry MP was killed in the IRA Brighton Bombing during the 1984 Tory Party Conference, his daughter Jo was thrown into a conflict she knew very little about. Since then she has visited Ireland many times and worked with victims and former combatants from all sides. In November 2000 she met Pat Magee, the man responsible for her father’s death. Belfast-born Pat Magee, former IRA activist, was given multiple life sentences for the Brighton Bombing. Released under the Good Friday Agreement in 1999, he has since been actively involved in peace work. Here in Soldiers Of Peace we see them both come together outside the Grand Hotel for the first time.

Iraq Veterans Against War, USA
Founded in July 2004, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) seeks to “give a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent.” The organization “supports all those resisting the war, including Conscientious Objectors and others facing military prosecution for their refusal to fight.” It calls for “immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq”; “reparations for the pillaging and destruction of Iraq so that ordinary Iraqi people can control their own lives and future”; and “full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.” In Soldiers of Peace we hear from a handful of vets about their experiences first hand.

Gill Hicks, Peace Direct Ambassador UK
On July 7th, 2005, 26 people died and many were severely injured and maimed on London Underground’s Piccadilly line tube train between Kings Cross and Russell Square stations. A suicide bomber was responsible. Australian-born Gill Hicks miraculously survived but lost both her legs due to the explosion. In Soldiers Of Peace she talks candidly about her experience and what it has taught her about, compassion, peace and what effect “The War On Terror” has on everyday people and their lives.

Fatuma Abdulkadir, Kenya
Fatuma Abdulkadir is a young woman promoting non-violent conflict resolution among the Borana and Gabra communities in Northern Kenya through football. She has literally put her life on the line for her cause and in this film we witness one woman’s unflinching bravery and her success in what was traditionally an impenetrable world of violence among young males.

Imam Ashafa & Pastor James, Nigeria
Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye are religious leaders who live in Kaduna, a city in northern Nigeria. Today, they work together to teach warring religious youth militias to resolve their conflicts peacefully. But they did not start out as peacemakers. Ten years ago, Imam Ashafa and Pastor James were mortal enemies, intent on killing one another in the name of religion. In 1995, Ashafa and Wuye formed the Interfaith Mediation Centre, a religious grass — roots organization that has successfully mediated between Christians and Muslims throughout Nigeria. Together, Imam Ashafa and Pastor James demonstrate extraordinary courage and dedication every day. Through their commitment to dialogue with their adversaries, and using religion as a resource, they leave us with a compelling example of what it takes to achieve peace and coexistence.

César López, Colombia
César López is a Colombian musician and peace activist. For the past several years, López has been part of a group called the Battalion of Immediate Artistic Reaction, which consists of various other musicians and activists who seek an alternative to the ever-present violence that plagues Colombia, and specifically the capital, Bogota. When the group receives news of another violent attack in the city, they meet and head out to the streets of Bogota to play soothing music for victims.

López’ most extraordinary achievement is a project where he has guns, including several AK-47s, decommissioned and turned into guitars, the Escopetarra. So far, only a few dozen of these guitars have been produced, but upon completion, López gives the guitars to high-profile musicians across the world, such as Bob Geldof. In Soldiers of Peace we also see him working with a group of boys who through their own tragic stories and hip hop music unflinchingly tell us of the realities of violence and the devastating effects it will continue to have on the future generations in Columbia if nothing is done about it now.

FFPU (Female-Formed Police Unit), Liberia
The Female-Formed Police Unit (FFPU) is a UN contingent composed of Indian women helps keep the peace in the West African nation of Liberia, devastated by one of Africa’s most bloody civil wars. This war has left more than 2,00,000 people dead, thousands scarred by violence and rape, a shattered economy, 85 percent unemployment, and crime on a spectacular scale. The Indian contingent consists of 125 officers of whom 105 are women from all over India. The men cook, drive and maintain the vehicles. The women help maintain law and order and provide armed backup to the Liberian National Police.

Neve Shalom Peace Community, Israel
A village, jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, that is engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples. Rani and Uri are two boys who tell us of their experiences growing up in a unique peaceful environment in a country torn apart by war and violence.