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Film for justice: Amnesty International Film Festival this weekend at Miners' Hall

Every year all across Canada the humanitarian group Amnesty International holds an annual film festival. Its purpose is “to tell important stories about one of the most pressing issues of our time” through “the power of film.” This Sunday Rosslanders are invited to attend this year's Amnesty International Film Festival put on by the RSS Amnesty International Club. These are mainly students from grades 10 to 12 whose goal is “to be the change they wish to see in the world.”

The festival will be held at the Miners' Hall from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. Entry is by donation and the proceeds will be going directly to Amnesty International and then put towards causes whose aim is to improve human rights around the world.

“I think it is each and every individual's responsibility to be aware of human rights abuses,” said Marilyn Nelson, the teacher-sponsor of the Amnesty International Club at RSS and the coordinator of the festival, “and with that knowledge, to choose some manner of stopping them. That could be in the form of a letter to government, discussing issues with peers or others, fundraising, protesting, or a myriad of other options. But I believe with all my heart that everyone must do something--take one small step to changing the world.”

The four films playing this weekend cover a wide range of topics.

  • Our Land My People tells the story of the Lubicon Cree tribe and how the oil and gas industries have driven these people into extreme poverty by destroying the surrounding environment.
  • Justicia Now! exposes Chevron Texaco's hand in the polluting of the Amazon rainforest near Ecuador and introduces us to a group called Los Afectadoss who are seeking justice for the destruction.
  • The Devil's Bargain, described as “a journey into the Small Arms Trade”, examines the many problems it causes in countries such as South Africa and Bosnia and even Canada and America.
  • Last comes The Vision of Wangari Maathia, the story of the Kenyan woman who began the process of taking back Kenya's land from years of deforestation, improving life for people living in rural communties, giving once powerless women an important role in the politics of Kenya, and disposing of the country's 24 year dictatorship.

“I think it is simply important for people to open their eyes and to see as much as they can.” Nelson said, “I also think that is so important for all Canadians to be aware that human rights abuses are not just something that happens in other is important for all Canadians to stop believing that we are somehow "above it all".

The festival takes place this weekend from 6-10 PM at the Miners' Hall. Check here for details.