Why Coexist?

When hate persists, how will you coexist? It's a question each of us face in our lives whether dealing with name calling and bullying, teasing and harassment, hate crimes, or even genocide. In the documentary film, Coexist we aim to stimulate discussion among people everywhere about the need to coexist. Coexist, is the evolution of several years of exploration, research, and discussion about reconciliation, coexistence, and peace-building. In our film you will see how genocide survivors struggle to coexist with killers in Rwanda, as targeted killing continues regularly throughout the country.

Survivors & Killers Living Side by Side

Because there are killers and survivors in every village in Rwanda, they must live side by side. This has prompted the government to heavily promote reconciliation programs. We found few people even in the most remote villages who have not heard the government's message of reconciliation. But, as you might imagine, reconciling with a killer who murdered your family is impossible for some people.

The Complexity of Coexistence

We set out to explore the extent of reconciliation in Rwanda. We had seen and heard numerous examples of seemingly stunning success. What we found in our investigation in Rwanda is that many people have been able to rehumanize their former enemies. But healing after such extreme trauma can be a life long effort. Many people simply cannot reconcile. For everyone in Rwanda the ability to simply coexist is imperative. As the country's top official at the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Fatuma Ndangiza told us, "Reconciliation is at different levels, some will reconcile others will coexist, and I think as long as it contributes to peace its all welcome."

A Feeling of Peace, as Killings Continue

The country is largely peaceful today. There is little danger for those willing to go about their business and keep quiet. But, some say peace is impossible. Because despite the relative peace murderers continue to kill genocide survivors today. The victims' families told us that survivors are being killed for testifying or preparing to testify against genocide offenders. Sometimes the murderers are related to the genocide offenders, and others are the genocide offenders themselves trying to protect other family members from going to prison.

What's Next?

Follow our progress here and share this story with your family, friends and colleagues. If you've visited our site before you'll find there are many new stories to read, pictures to view, information to check out and opportunities to interact. There are numerous ways to do that which we've outlined across our site. Become a fan on facebook, join our cause, send a link to our video on this page: http://upstanderproject.org, make a donation, tell teachers, professors, and administrators about Coexist.

In the coming months as we work to complete our film we will explore coexistence asking you:

"When hate persists, how will you you coexist?"

--Adam Mazo Director, Coexist