TCU alumna brings hard-hitting documentary to campus

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    “My mom’s body was maimed… I was numbed. I couldn’t understand how they could kill her… My entire family was killed. I had 11 brothers. No one is alive besides me.”

    This is a testimony by Jean-Baptiste Ntakirutimana, a genocide survivor featured in the documentary “Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness.”

    The Center for International Studies put on a film screening in the auditorium of the Brown-Lupton University Union Wednesday night. The film’s message: forgiveness.

    The film was brought to campus by TCU alumna Erin Griffin, the film’s global impact producer, in part with the Center for International Services. Griffin said this film was brought to TCU to raise awareness about this global issue and to inspire students to use their education to make a difference.

    “It is crucial that we listen and learn from one another to stop the cycle of pain, hatred and violence,” Griffin said. “It is important to expose ourselves to the world’s most brutal stories that result in forgiveness and new life so that we can begin the conversation that leads to reconciliation.”

    The documentary follows individuals in Rwanda, Northern Ireland and Israel-Palestine whose lives have been torn apart by violence and their journey of choosing to forgive rather than hate those who killed their loved ones.

    “You could say lots of things [to describe this film], you could say powerful, emotional, daunting, but the word that most comes to mind is necessary,” said Tracy Rundstrom Williams, associate director of the Center for International Services. “This is a film that we need to watch.”

    Griffin was joined by Dr. Ray Pfeiffer, associate dean of the Neeley School of Business, and Dr. Mark Dennis, associate professor of East Asian Religions, in a panel following the film screening. Among the topics of discussion was the effect of religion in global conflicts and how individuals in the business world can do their part to prevent them.

    Williams echoed the main idea of the film, which is that the way to peace is not through the never-ending cycle of hatred and retaliation, but through reconciliation and forgiveness.

    “It’s pretty hard for us to wrap our minds around the idea of forgiving someone that literally tears our family apart and does the worst thing that you can imagine,” Williams said. “The way to move forward is to figure out methods of forgiveness and reconciliation, and working together in cooperation.”