A RAY OF HOPE DOCUMENTARY – STRAWACADEMY REVIEW
‘A RAY OF HOPE’ DOCUMENTARY REVIEW
THE ILLS OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM – BASED ON THE ANGLOPHONE CRISIS – CAMEROON, AFRICA
The documentary titled ‘A RAY OF HOPE” is presented in 2021 by Mac Alunge, founder and CEO of Strawacademy, an organization that fosters youth and economic empowerment, fosters economic and sustainable development by inspiring and directing the creation and development of feasible, sustainable, fundable and scalable businesses, in partnership with The UNESCO Regional Office for Central Africa. Strawacademy seeks to contribute to the prevention of violent extremism in the Southwest and Northwest regions of Cameroon. This documentary has a focus on the ills of violent extremism in these regions, its vast effects on different people and the possible ways to enhance peacebuilding in the region. The video documentary introduces Cameroon and it’s riches. The beauty of the nation however began fading away in 2016 due to the Anglophone crisis in the two English speaking regions.
During the crisis, there were a lot of ills such as gruesome murders, destruction of property, abductions, rape and human trafficking. This gave rise to very bad consequences – families were separated, homes were lost, education suspended, businesses collapsed, people were traumatized and others lost their sources of income such as Internally Displaced Persons.
In this documentary, a lot of people who were affected by the crisis were interviewed such as internally displaced persons, teachers, students, civil society organizations, business entrepreneurs and human rights activists. Through this documentary, we are made to discover the seriousness of the effects of the crisis. There were also a lot of trauma effects as many people could not sleep at night due to the sound of gunshots heard frequently, and due to flashbacks and panic attacks.
Internally Displaced Persons suffered a lot of loss as they were compelled to run away from their homes to safe areas because of extreme violence. This change of location came with the need for new homes, new sources of income and basic needs. The interview with the Primary School Head Teacher lays down the need for psychosocial support for internally displaced pupils enrolled in new institutions.
Further, businesses crumbled as some start-ups had to leave Buea completely because of economic instability. Businesses that need internet connection in order to function were badly hit during the three months internet blackout starting from January 2017. The crisis also affected investment as potential investors were scared to invest in a business that could crumble without notice.
The negative impacts of the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon have given rise to people and organizations seeking solutions to improve the situation and put an end to violence.
The Director for the Regional Office of UNESCO for Central Africa, Sir Salah Khaled, mentions some solutions that can be applicable in these conflict areas. He indicates that the root causes of the crisis be addressed so as to reach reconciliation. Also, the victims of violent acts need psychosocial support in order to recover from their suffering.
The role of Cameroonian Artists (actors, spoken word artists, musicians) in peacebuilding is a very important aspect discussed in the documentary. The Music artist Salatiel makes an important point concerning this. He points out that it is the role of artists to sensitize the people making them see the consequences of our war actions which have to come to an end. As a musician for instance, you have fans who listen to and love your music. They follow you on social media handles so as to be up to date with you. Already, you are a voice that a lot people listen to. So, using the media space to sensitize people against violence would have a huge positive effect moving towards the direction of peacebuilding.
As one of the measures put in place in order to enhance peacebuilding and social cohesion according to Sir Salah Khaled, UNESCO promotes Art. He states that art has a very important role in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Spoken Word Art is a tool by which Spoken Word artists can address the deplorable situation in the country and sensitize the population. Strawacademy which also deals in Art uses the Spoken Word to enhance peacebuilding, fight against Hate Speech, violence and discrimination in the society.
Moreover, in the documentary, we learn about the efforts made by Civil Society Organizations to reach out to Internally Displaced Persons and all those in need of assistance by making necessary provisions for them and empowering them on income generating activities. This helps them to acquire skills and also be able to fend for themselves.
Despite all that has happened over the years since 2016, the title of this documentary ‘A Ray of Hope’ tells us that there is still hope for the nation, particularly the English speaking regions. All the efforts that have been made to improve the society have not been in vain, they have been yielding positive results and the society is called upon to continue in the same vein. The documentary has been a great success in sensitizing people on the ills of violent extremism in Anglophone Cameroon as the voices of many have been heard. The beauty of the Cameroonian nation can be restored if the citizens come together as one in building peace.
Ekoli Kinge Miriam
#MacAlunge #defyhatenow #UNESCO
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