In a world where we are constantly bombarded with different opinions and perspectives, where our mindset is not our own, but the one of generations and generations back, it can be challenging to truly understand and empathize with others. The power of the technology we’re privileged to have today to influence and shape our perceptions of the surroundings around us cannot be overstated. It makes putting yourself in other persons’ shoes much easier.
Peacebuilding is the process of creating and sustaining peaceful relationships between individuals, groups, and communities. It involves addressing the root causes of conflict, promoting understanding and reconciliation, and fostering a culture of peace. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in using film as a tool for peacebuilding and engaging young people in conversations about conflict resolution. By using it as a medium for communication, we can reach a wider audience, including those who may be otherwise disengaged or hard to reach.
“Selma” (2014) is a historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay, serves as a powerful reminder of how nonviolent resistance is at the core of having an effect on social change. The film does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and intensity of the civil rights movements as different factions struggle with their approaches to achieving their goals. These types of projects inspire youth to reflect on their own attitudes and to consider the impact of their actions on others; to prioritize constructive dialogue and seek solutions that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved. The film’s message of hope and the power of collective action is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s.
Our country is a small country in the Balkans with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Despite its size, it has produced many talented artists and filmmakers who have used their work to explore important social and political issues. With a central theme surrounding the tension between modernity and tradition, “Honey Night” (2015), directed by Ivo Trajkov, carries a similar message about the cruciality of following your heart and pursuing personal happiness, which is relatable and universal to many of my peers. Take in mind, these are teenagers that are keeping the romance genre alive. “Honey Night” follows the story of a young woman who is forced to confront her own prejudices and assumptions when she falls in love with a Romani man. Through their relationship, the film explores the deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination that exists in Macedonian society, highlighting the importance of breaking down barriers and learning to see people as individuals rather than stereotypes. Considering the outdated discrimination Romani people face every hour and every minute of the day, it’s no wonder this piece of art often stirs the wrong pots. But maybe, that’s the only effective way. It’s good that you sometimes feel uncomfortable. Challenge your mindset. Open yourself up to new ideas. People shouldn’t live by one standard set in stone. People shouldn’t move around and step on needles around your discomfort. Accept it and transform it. Don’t be afraid of change. Comfort bubbles kill. We, the youth, moldable and open-minded are the only ones that can work towards a brighter tomorrow. Young people are always at the forefront of social and political change and are an important demographic to engage in peacebuilding efforts. Film can be an effective tool for engaging young people, as it is a medium that is accessible to many of them. Through storytelling, we can create a sense of connection and empathy between viewers and characters, and can provide a platform for exploring issues related to conflict and peace. By creating fictional narratives, we can also provide a sense of hope and optimism, and can help to inspire viewers to take action to promote good values.
Literature is also one of the pillars of liberal propaganda that is trying to take its roots in our society. A specific novel that stood out to me was “My Name is Red” (1998) by Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish writer of Macedonian heritage. The novel tells the story of a group of Ottoman artists who are commissioned to create a book of illustrations, but who become embroiled in a struggle between tradition and modernity. Through the eyes of multiple narrators, including a murdered artist, a dog, and a tree, the novel explores the complex cultural and political forces that shape the lives of its characters, highlighting the importance of listening to diverse voices and perspectives.
Film has the power to bring people together, and by harnessing this power, we can work towards a more peaceful and just world. By embracing what we know deep in our hearts is right, we can create a more equitable society that celebrates diversity and recognizes the humanity of all its members.
About the author:
Country: North Macedonia
School: Orce Nikolov
Juror in Giffoni Macedonia: 2017, 2019, 2021, 2022
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