Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness is a film that needs to be seen, and now, thanks to an inventive distribution method, which promotes the film at the same pace as raising money for worthy nonprofits, it is getting the global reach it deserves.
This award-winning documentary feature is about wounded hearts and fractured relationships, but it is also a film about people who will not allow the pain of the past dictate the path of the future. It is centered around people who have used dialogue, compassion and activism to help heal their broken hearts and repair their broken communities. Above all, it is a film about people who are on journeys of forgiveness, but who don't sacrifice their right for justice.
Several of the people I have worked closely with over the years in The Forgiveness Project are featured in Beyond Right and Wrong. They know blind hate leaves no room for maneuver, while peace and reconciliation require accommodation on both sides. These are exceptional people -- for instance, Jo Berry, whose father was killed by an IRA bomb, Robi Damelin, whose son was killed by a Palestinian sniper and Jean-Baptiste Ntakirutimana, whose entire family was massacred in the Rwandan genocide. Despite suffering terrible trauma, these remarkable people still have the ability to listen to the pain of others, and move beyond their justified right for revenge.
One of my favorite parts in the film is when Israeli-born, Rami Elhanan (whose 14-year-old daughter was blown up by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem) is seen with Israeli and Palestine former combatants protesting against occupied Palestinian land. Referring to the Wall that divides the two communities, he says: "This Wall cannot stop two kinds of people: The one determined suicide bomber will find a way to go through, and the one determined peacemaker"
Beyond Right and Wrong is a tribute to such peacemakers. Released last year, it has won several awards, but until now has only been available through private viewings and art house screenings. It is excellent news, therefore, that the film is now being distributed through FilmRaise, an innovative online platform where charities, donors, and ﬁlm makers get to carry on the conversation. Viewers can now watch online, and with just click of a button, simultaneously donate to their favorite cause. The idea is that the film will spread virally via social media, and the more clicks/views received, the more money earned for non-profit organizations.
I have shown this film in prisons and schools and for small selected audiences. The response is always the same -- stunned appreciation, for some dramatic shifts of consciousness, for others renewed commitment to pursue peace between individuals and communities at odds. The fact that this extraordinary film can now be viewed widely across the globe is therefore an important step in peace building and resolving conflicts non-violently. It's vitally important that people join this powerful social and creative action as part of a growing peaceful revolution.