Bosnians: “We are not afraid to say never again”

Bosnians: ‘We are not afraid to say never again’
by Jordi Gabarro LLOP
11 April 2011

A documentary journey in response to the Belfast Sarajevo Initiative was held at the Queen’s Film Theatre. Called ‘We Are Not Afraid’ and organised by Healing Through Remembering (HTR), both filmmakers Declan Keeney and Cahal McLaughlin discussed telling stories from the conflict and how people deal with the past.

As part of the Belfast Film Festival, the event started with the passing of ‘The Past is not Dead’ documentary. Belfast filmmaker Declan Keeney explored very personal first-hand accounts of children’s lives during the 1990s siege of Sarajevo, the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. The documentary reflects on the notion that in the rebuilding of lives, space and a sense of place in post-conflict societies, you cannot ignore the legacy of the past, however difficult that is to do.

After this viewing, there was a panel discussion moderated by Margo Harkin, which explored the politics, ethics, and practicalities of passing on stories from the conflict.

Keeney told the audience that most Bosnians have learned to deal with their childhood memories, and thus comfortable enough to be filmed.

The filmmakers pointed out that storytelling could benefit people affected by conflict and at the same time improve the consciousness of film viewers. The audience also watched a McLaughlin short film, ‘When the Summit is Shrouded in Mist’, by Healing Through Remembering.

These filmmakers demonstrated how we can learn from those in other divided societies about how to deal with the past — as in the Healing Through Remembering motto, “Whatever you say, say something.”

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