reconciliation

Read the Review:

SurvivorStories

Our documentary film Coexist is reviewed in Thursday's New York Times. We invite you to read the review and watch our film on television. You may also read the full review here:

Reconciliation Held Together With Bleeding Stitches

‘Coexist,’ About Rwanda 20 Years Later, on PBS

By NEIL GENZLINGER APRIL 9, 2014

As Rwanda and the world note the 20th anniversary of the genocide in that country, much of the focus has been on reconciliations between the Hutu killers who slaughtered Tutsis and the victims’ family members and friends. “Coexist,” a documentary by Adam Mazo, at first seems as if it is merely going to be another effort to draw feel-good stories out of an impossibly ugly moment in history. But it ultimately proves itself much smarter than that, exploring whether forgiveness that is mandated by the government can be genuine.

The film, which is being shown this month on some public television stations, including WLIW in New York at 10 p.m. on Thursday, consists mostly of low-key but powerful interviews with participants in the genocide and survivors of it. They relate their experiences from 1994, and some of them sound as if they are buying the maxim that the current government is selling: Forgive, and resume living side by side.

But as the interview subjects open up, cracks in this facade are evident. A man who did some of the killing begins to sound as if he is merely parroting whatever the authorities say, just as he followed the instructions to kill 20 years ago. A woman who experienced unimaginable loss is not at all on board with the forgiveness plan. “If I could afford to, I would leave,” she says, “because I don’t want to see the people who killed my family.”

The film is being promoted as a teaching tool, part of an initiative to show the destructiveness of “othering”: dividing people into us/them categories. And its ultimate lesson is that reconciliation is difficult to manufacture. Better, of course, not to let enmity take root in the first place.

A day for reflection and...

Coexist is a documentary and educational outreach project in use by more than 3,000 schools and community organizations in 50 states and more than a dozen countries. Our project includes a 40-minute film and a four-lesson Teacher's Guide, which can be used in the classroom and in support of positive school climate campaigns.

We invite you to join our community on facebook.

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Devastating news about massacres, rape, and forced conscription is not making headlines today. But it is happening right now in East Africa.

Today we learn from a new report that dozens of civilians have been murdered, women and girls as young as 8-years-old raped, and boys are being forced to fight or die. The army on this campaign of atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo is M23, one that Human Rights Watch reports is supported by Rwanda and its ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). In Coexist Dr. Tim Longman says “The RPF carried out war crimes and human rights abuses and they've had no accountability for that whatsoever.” The stories continues.

This news is disturbing any day of the year, as it is on this September 11th when we reflect on these wrongdoings as well the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the deaths of thousands of people. The Coexist team also remembers the lesser known coup d'etat on this same date in 1973, when the U.S. helped overthrow the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende. Tyranny reigned for 17 years, people disappeared, families we're destroyed. The wounds remain today.

May this day of reflection be an opportunity to discuss the roles of individuals and governments in accounting for wrongdoing, and for all of humanity to explore avenues for healing and reconciliation and justice.

 

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View Coexist in Schools around the world in a full screen map

How Coexist is working in Schools

Here's a link to one example of what happens in classrooms where we teach Coexist. That school now plans to broaden and deepen the conversation about violence prevention.

Read what people are saying about Coexist here.

Contact us at coexistdocumentary@gmail.com

ORDER COEXIST NOW! | Screenings | Watch | Videos | How can I see it? | Education | Guide | Survey | Classroom | Glossary | Links | Coexistence is... | About | Mission | Proposal | Team | Board | Archive | Contribute | Subscribe | Connect & Share | Ways to Help | Supporters | News | Gallery | Press Kit | Coexisting Responsibly

 

Happy New Year!

Coexist is a documentary and educational outreach project which includes a 40-minute film, Viewer's Guide, curricular and technical support, which constitute a ready-to-use toolkit for incorporation into programs on anti-violence, conflict resolution, anti-bullying and other standards-aligned curricula by school districts, youth development organizations, colleges and universities.

How Coexist is working in Schools

Here's a link to one example of what happens in classrooms where we teach Coexist. That school now plans to broaden and deepen the conversation about violence prevention.

. . .

The Coexist team was interviewed ahead of the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Coexist this Friday, November 18th at 8pm at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. Event info is available here: http://www.lapena.org/event/1893

To listen to the interview hit play below, wait a few moments for the show to load and then click in the middle of the time bar to jump forward to 62:00 where the interview begins.

Listen to internet radio with Wandas Picks on Blog Talk Radio

Find our latest post about Penn State and the failure to stand up here.

Read what people are saying about Coexist here.

Contact us at coexistdocumentary@gmail.com

ORDER COEXIST NOW! | Screenings | Watch | Videos | How can I see it? | Education | Guide | Survey | Classroom | Glossary | Links | Coexistence is... | About | Mission | Proposal | Team | Board | Archive | Donate | Subscribe | Connect & Share | Ways to Help | Supporters | News | Gallery | Press Kit | Coexisting Responsibly

Students Reflect on Bullying, Genocide, & Non-violence

“A lot of people at my school need to work on taking a stand against injustices.” Nearly 250 students, from 9th through 12th grade joined in an hour-long discussion about the documentary film Coexist at Amherst Regional High School in Western Massachusetts on Thursday October 27, 2011. Upstander Director Dr. Mishy Lesser designed and facilitated the workshop prompting students to think about their own role in conflict. One student reflected, “I see fear, greed, and hate at school, which I was able to think more about.”

Teachers from English, Acting, Social Studies, and French agreed to use the Coexist Viewer’s Guide and screen the film before Mishy’s arrival. Teachers pooled their students in the library, taking over the space for five periods, thanks to generous support from the high school’s librarians. Another student observed, “You have to do something to stop harm. If everyone waits for someone else to do it, it won’t get done.”

During the workshops students developed a group definition of genocide, identified the behaviors that contribute to genocide, those that contribute to preventing the escalation of violence and scapegoating, and discussed which behaviors that contribute to genocide might be present in the school community, even if in a milder form. One student made an important connection, “Bullying is like mini-genocide. I [now see] the connection between bullying and genocide.” Another student said, “Genocide is caused by fear and greed, but also caused by people being bystanders, and people not taking action.”

Principal Mark Jackson and student leaders of STAND invited Mishy to lead the workshops. STAND is the student-led division of United to End Genocide. The event was planned over the course of several months, which allowed student leaders enough time to identify and recruit a variety of teachers to participate in the Coexist workshop. STAND group envisions a world in which the international community protects civilians from genocidal violence.

Following the workshop one student said, “In school people are quick to judge and write people off without fully understanding the other person’s situation, or even attempting to.” Another wrote, “The only way people can live in peace is if we communicate and try to practice non-violence. “

The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee of Orange. The Coexist team looks forward to returning to Amherst Regional High School to work with other students and teachers, and is available to work in nearby middle and high schools.

Watch this video for a look at what a Coexist workshop looks like in action:

What are viewers saying about Coexist?

Audience members yearn for more time to unpack the many messages of Coexist. Here are recent comments about both the film and the debriefing discussions facilitated by members of the Coexist team:

"Coexist is a remarkable film and unparalleled in conveying the complexities of life today in Rwanda for survivors of the genocide. The experience of survivors such as Grace and Domitilie, and the unique opportunity to hear their views in their own words, is a call to action for us all. Not only must we remember the victims of the genocide, but also the survivors still living with the consequences of genocide today." -David Russell, Executive Director SURF (Survivors Fund)

. . .

"This is an excellent film. Of the various films I have seen on the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, this is the most truthful, the most real. It presents things as they are, not driven by the desire to show how wonderfully people reconcile. It shows the pain, the mistrust, with some glimmering of hope." -Professor Ervin Staub, author of Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Founding Director of the doctoral program in Psychology of Peace and Prevention of Violence, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

. . .

Coexist was carefully and sensitively made, drawing in a variety of narratives, beliefs, and perceptions that underscore the complexity of mass violence. The video and educational programs serve as beneficial learning tools for American adults and young people who may not know much about Rwanda and have not been faced with the need for social healing and reconciliation after genocide. I especially appreciate the film for not offering simplistic remedies to the profound questions of how people live together, and live with themselves, after such atrocity. The film reminds us that we each face ourselves and manage our recovery differently, and that human beings have an astounding resilience." - Dr. Paula Green, founder, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, and CONTACT Program, SIT (School for International Training Graduate Institute)

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"The power of the film and Mishy's way of inviting us to experience it deeply has Saturday evening still reverberating in me. So many levels of engagement arose as the evening progressed, with Mishy setting the context, with the brief history presented, with Mishy’s inviting and facilitating comments from the audience." - Sarah Conn, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder, Earth Circles

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"Coexist is outstanding, in part because it brings up for viewers so many profound thoughts and feelings. The film underscores our capacity as humans for evil and betrayal and injustice. And Mishy's welcoming, context-setting, and facilitation of the debriefing were terrific." - Robert Ryan, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness Consultant/Coach

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"Coexist is so evocative; it crushes the heart because it is so real and tells the truth about what did happen and what could happen. I feel edified by having seen it." - Brett Litz, Ph.D., VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University

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Contact us at coexistdocumentary@gmail.com

ORDER COEXIST NOW! | Screenings | Watch | Videos | How can I see it? | Education | Guide | Survey | Classroom | Glossary | Links | Coexistence is... | About | Mission | Proposal | Team | Board | Archive | Donate | Subscribe | Connect & Share | Ways to Help | Supporters | News | Gallery | Press Kit | Coexisting Responsibly

Praise for Coexist

What are viewers saying about Coexist?

Audience members yearn for more time to unpack the many messages of Coexist. Here are recent comments about both the film and the debriefing discussions facilitated by members of the Coexist team:

. . .

"Coexist was carefully and sensitively made, drawing in a variety of narratives, beliefs, and perceptions that underscore the complexity of mass violence. The video and educational programs serve as beneficial learning tools for American adults and young people who may not know much about Rwanda and have not been faced with the need for social healing and reconciliation after genocide. I especially appreciate the film for not offering simplistic remedies to the profound questions of how people live together, and live with themselves, after such atrocity. The film reminds us that we each face ourselves and manage our recovery differently, and that human beings have an astounding resilience." - Dr. Paula Green, founder, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, and CONTACT Program, SIT (School for International Training Graduate Institute)

. . .

"The power of the film and Mishy's way of inviting us to experience it deeply has Saturday evening still reverberating in me. So many levels of engagement arose as the evening progressed, with Mishy setting the context, with the brief history presented, with Mishy’s inviting and facilitating comments from the audience." - Sarah Conn, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder, Earth Circles

. . .

"Coexist is outstanding, in part because it brings up for viewers so many profound thoughts and feelings. The film underscores our capacity as humans for evil and betrayal and injustice. And Mishy's welcoming, context-setting, and facilitation of the debriefing were terrific." - Robert Ryan, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness Consultant/Coach

. . .

"Coexist is so evocative; it crushes the heart because it is so real and tells the truth about what did happen and what could happen. I feel edified by having seen it." - Brett Litz, Ph.D., VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University

. . .