I’d like to share a secret highlighted by another Global Voices documentary: the world in which we live in is actually remarkably peaceful! On the one hand, it seems foolish to label these times as peaceful. We are less than a decade removed from 9/11, the US is engaged in a two-front war, and conflicts in the Middle East and Africa are far from being resolved. However, as international affairs scholar and best selling author Fareed Zakaria writes, “by some measures, like civilian casualties, we’re living through the most peaceful times ever” (Zakaria, xxvii)(*). It is this secret that the documentary Soldiers of Peace, which will be screened as part of our film festival in October, wishes to emphasize.
The documentary’s mission has two layers. Firstly, it hopes to introduce its audience to the individuals who are creating these peaceful times. Secondly, it stresses that this movement cannot be taken for granted and encourages its audience to act.
There are many theories as to why these times are as peaceful as any in history. The idealist’s answer would suggest that countries are comprehending that far-sighted, peaceful policy will help mitigate tomorrow’s inevitable conflicts, while short sighted, violent policy can only exacerbate the circle of hate (see the war on terror). A more realistic theory would state that the current shift does not indicate a change of attitude toward war and violence, but a realization that problems like global warming and epidemic outbreaks can only be solved with a multilateral approach.
The documentary touches upon these theories and others by interviewing many of the chief players of this movement, from business mogul Sir Richard Branson to the symbol of peace and reconciliation, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Soldiers of Peace is certainly a different kind of documentary, focusing on a positive development and influencing its audience to bolster this development. Narrated by Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglass, this documentary should serve as a heartwarming story and a call for action. I hope you can attend this screening to learn more about this incredible, yet little-known, approach to current events!
Enjoy the film,
* Zakaria, Fareed. The Post-American World. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009