We are honoured to be a part of the 11th We The People’s Film Festival in London! Over the weekend we had another sell out event and hosted a great panel talk after the screening at Hackney Picturehouse. Unfortunately we were unable to respond to everyone who had questions but we will endeavour to get back to all as soon as possible! (Thanks Belinda!) But all in all it was a very successful screening, and not the last in London that’s for sure!
This morning we received a surprise call asking if we would allow A Brilliant Genocide to be screened again, this time for the awards ceremony which takes place tonight in London at the British Film Institute.
Of course we said yes! What an honour and great opportunity we were offered! We want as many people as possible seeing this film, signing our petition and learning about the tragic and silenced past of so many people from northern Uganda, at the hands of their own government.
Wish us luck ahead of this evenings event! Our amazing UK team and organisers have been incredible, working tirelessly and taking control over the marketing and promotion of our film and all other areas of organisation for the festival. Essentially it is their story and they want to be actively involved in getting out out there. I am so very proud! Seeing our documentary grow the way it is, especially having some key characters in the film itself helping to drive its success and build its audience, is an incredibly rewarding experience.
A special thanks to my brothers Joseph Ochien, Bosco Nyeko and my sister Belinda Atim! Wonderful people with huge hearts, and a long and untold story to tell. So please try and see it, listen to it, learn from it and help us demand justice and an end to the silence that has now gone on for some 30 years. The TV version of the film is screening on RT / Russia Today over the next 5 months – so please look out for it in your country or online at rt.com!
Your voice also counts and you can help make a difference. Please if you can spare a few minutes sign and share our petition on change.org: www.bit.ly/STOPM7
Thank you so very much! We hope to be back with more news soon! #EndTheSilence
We the People’s Film Festival is a United Nations Association Westminster Branch organized event.
To find out more visit their website: WWW.UNAWESTMINSTER.ORG.UK
A Brilliant Genocide screening today at 1pm at the Document International Human Rights Film Festival… Thank you Glasgow Living for including A Brilliant Genocide in the top 5 films to see at this years incredible human rights festival!
Remember being shocked by the Kony video of 2012? Forget to ask what happened next?
A Brilliant Genocide uncovers some uncomfortable and shocking truths, that could only be made worse by a refusal to acknowledge them.
This Scottish premiere screening is followed by a thought-provoking discussion panel asking about truth in the documentary, and whose responsibility it is to check facts and test the boundaries of this factual but inherently subjective medium.
Contextualising genocide is difficult. The millions (billions?) of words written on the Holocaust attest to the challenge. A Brilliant Genocide manages to successfully tell the story of the most neglected humanitarian crisis since the formation of the United Nations. The salient facts are brought to the fore to create a cohesive narrative of the Acholi genocide that does not shy away from any of the guilty parties, be they government or rebel. Both Museveni and Kony face documentary reckoning.
This is a brave film, not least because it faces the very real possibility of getting people killed. That is not a criticism. There is no other way to tell the truth without risk. I do not want to recount here what happened in Northern Uganda over the past three decades, Ebony Butler does a better job of that than I could, I want people to see the film for themselves. A Brilliant Genocide allows the survivors, politicians, academics, and soldiers to speak for themselves, to tell their own stories. In doing so, the war is humanised in a way that is not possible through any other medium. The visceral emotion of men and women discussing the atrocities they endured is not lost as it may be if they are just read about. Their accounts are supplemented by archive footage and Hieronymus Bosch-like depictions of torture and violence. All this is done in an unobtrusive style, understanding that no rhetorical device can match simple truth telling.
“TO REITERATE: FIND A WAY OF WATCHING THIS FILM”
Butler must be especially commended (I can think of no other word) for securing interviews with male survivors of rape. A taboo subject everywhere, but particularly in Uganda. It is not known for LGBT rights and homophobic attacks are commonplace. All of the survivors who appear in the film speak with dignity and measure. At no point does it descend into calls for retribution, no matter how tempting that must have been sometimes. I honestly do not know what more I can say about this documentary. It frankly should not have needed to be made. The Acholi genocide should be ranked alongside the killing fields and Rwanda in the worst excesses of the past century. That so few are knowledgeable is tragic.
A Brilliant Genocide is a stunning exemplar of what film is capable of. I hope that a wider release can be secured through streaming services or even just free on Youtube. It needs to be watched. The survivors need to be heard. I do not know if the film can find justice for the Acholi or even the peace they deserve. However, I do know that the more people that are aware of the genocide, the more uncomfortable it will be for the perpetrators. The spotlight will take away their hiding spaces. To reiterate: find a way of watching this film. If you cannot then please try and read about the war. It has taken 100 years for the Armenian genocide to be fully recognised and acknowledged. The Acholi do not have that long.
Julius L. Geertz (The Panoptic UK)
Upcoming Film Festival Screenings:
21st October at the Document Human Rights Film Festival in Glasgow
22nd and 23rd October at the 36th Cambridge International Film Festival
9th of November at the We The People’s Film Festival in London
10th November at the Lone Star Film Festival, Sundance Square Fort Worth
A documentary accusing President Museveni and the Uganda army of genocide against the Acholi people in the north is being used to lobby for an end to US aid to Uganda.
By Daniel Nelson
A Brilliant Genocide argues that Museveni exploited atrocities by a rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), as a cover for his own “reign of terror” against the Acholis.
The film’s website carries a petition asking the US President to cut arms supplies and non-humanitarian aid, to ensure Museveni and others face justice, and to use sanctions and diplomacy to force the Uganda government to compensate victims of army violence.
After a film festival screening in London last Friday, Olara Otunnu, a Uganda politician, diplomat and former UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, insisted that Acholi culture and civilisation faced “existential annihilation.
“We must address how to resuscitate [this culture] gather the pieces – a Marshall Plan is not big enough for Acholiland today,” he said.
The crisis had been written about and been the subject of reports, but all had been “studiously ignored and brushed under the carpet”.
Director Ebony Butler has said that she started making a film about Joseph Kony, the LRA and the use of child soldiers in 2009 but “along our six-year journey we found some completely untold ‘hidden’ stories that we felt were even more important to bring to light …”
Those responsible for these massive human rights abuses were still in office today, she has written, and continue to enjoy “complete impunity for their crimes”.
Why the title? As an interviewee in the film says: “No food, no hydration, sexual violence from the soldiers who were meant to protect them. That’s why this was a ‘brilliant genocide’ – a silent genocide: perfect crime.”
Sign the petition here: www.bit.ly/STOPM7
Our U.K Premiere at Raindance Film Festival was a huge success with booked out screenings and week long celebrations to mark the beginning of and end to the silence around the genocide in Uganda.
Our major premiere screening took place in London on Friday night (Sept. 27) at Vue Cinemas on Regent Street and was followed by an expert panel discussion with hosts traveling from other parts of the world just to take part in the event.
Ambassador Olara Otunnu (UPC Party President) flew in from Uganda and Milton Allimadi (Black Star News) travelled from New York just hours before the screening to host our panel.
Here is one of many reviews of our film, this time from George Okello who attended one of our screenings at Raindance:
A Brilliant Genocide Film Documentary was screened yesterday evening at at Piccadilly Circus, London. The event was sold out, and I met a few of the UAH members, including Joseph Ochieno, Milton Alimadi, John Latigo and plenty of others.
Otunnu made a very powerful address, on the Genocide that happened in northern Uganda, specifically aimed at wiping out the Acholi as a people. Otunnu contended it was the deliberate intention and policy of Rwandan outlaw Kayibanda Museveni and the NRA gangster movement to wipe out an entire people, only the first time it had been attempted since the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. He distinguished the NRA progroms from others before it, in that genocides like in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Iraq etc tended to be sudden, concentrated bursts of violence that lasted a short duration of probably 2-3 years, whereas the one in Acholi was drawn out over 20 years, and was systematic, carefully planned, assiduously orchestrated following a pre-determined pattern aimed at delivering a Final Solution; ie the total elimination of the Acholi people;
1. First Kill the Acholi people.
2. Take away their Land
3. Destroy their culture and identity as a people and Make Them Slaves.
Otunnu said Kayibanda has in fact almost succeeded in his mission of wiping out the Acholi people. He contended the Acholi of old is almost dead- her rich cultural heritage reduced to ashes, her people deliberately marginalised and removed from all positions of power and authority; and her land is now being systematically grabbed by Kayibanda and given away to foreigners. 20 years of brutal encampment have almost destroyed the Acholi traditional systems of governance and completely corrupted the culture that had kept the society together for centuries.
Otunnu painted a very bleak picture of what would amount to one of the greatest crimes ever committed in the history of humanity and human civilisation, and that this crime took place in the full glare of the world without anybody doing anything to stop it. Kayibanda was given free reign to implement one of the worst episodes of barbarity ever inflicted on human beings anywhere in the world.
Dr Adam Branch, who is probably the only western academic to document the suffering of the Acholi people, and the holocaust they went through also gave testimony. Other panelists included Dr Vincent Magombe (Free Uganda).
The Documentary itself is a very powerful rendition of the darkness of man’s heart, how a very cruel and sadistic maniac, obsessed with power, was allowed to run amok among a totally defenceless people and set about murdering them just for fun.
There was not much chance for debate, because of time limitation. My only criticism is that being a mainly victim narrative, the political explanation for Kayibanda Museveni’s grosteque violence and savagery remains largely unexplained. Secondly, the suffering of the Acholi people is made to be unique to the Acholi people, whereas kayibanda Museveni’s barbarity and Rwandan occupation of our country has inflicted harm and suffering all across Uganda, and Eastern Uganda in particular Teso.
The Documentary is a valuable contribution to the unmasking of the brutality of Rwandan outlaw Kayibanda Museveni, and is one of the many attempts Ugandans will use to bring world attention to their suffering. The world can not surely turn a blind eye anymore to the suffering of Ugandans.
The Documentary is also a reminder that we will bring Kayibanda Museveni and his henchmen to justice, no matter how long it will take. He will be be punished and should have no illusions about our determination.
The following was written by Dee Allimadi. Dee is a Ugandan living in exile in London and she recently attended A Brilliant Genocide‘s U.K Premiere at the Raindance Film Festival. This is what Allimadi had to say after seeing our film:
‘The hammering on the door continued and by this time Aparu was on the floor with her head in her hands rocking back and forth like a patient in a mental asylum. She lamented in her native Acholi, ‘lubanga na’, ‘lubanga na’ (my God, my God). Lanyero quietly prayed that it was government soldiers and not the LRA rebels. With government soldiers their fate might be rape, torture and either killing on the spot or huddled into “protective camps”. Your fate would be decided very quickly but with the rebels, abduction was a virtual certainty. The rape and torture would become part and parcel of your life.’ (Excerpt from ‘Abducted‘ by Doris Allimadi).
D. Allimadi Cont:
‘This was the life in Acholi Land following Museveni’s ‘liberation’ of Uganda in 1986 and promise of fundamental change. Homesteads were regularly attacked by both rebels and government troops, young men and women abducted and food stolen. Whilst the rest of Uganda begun to somewhat prosper, Gulu and other parts of North Uganda were left to languish in absolute poverty.
On 30th September, I had the privilege of watching the very harrowing and heart-breaking docu-film, A Brilliant Genocide directed and produced by the very talented film maker, Ebony Butler. Ms Butler spent many years researching and corroborating her findings before making this docu-film.
The docu-film had a very balanced and extensively researched view of the atrocities in Gulu and North Uganda with contributions by Milton Allimadi, Editor and Publisher at Blackstarnews, former ambassador and UN Special Representative Olara Otunnu, Adam Branch, a professor at Cambridge University and Vincent Magombe, a journalist.
When one thinks of the atrocities perpetrated against the Acholi people, the name Joseph Kony immediately springs to mind. Kony and his LRA were responsible for countless abductions, killing, maiming and displacing families in Gulu and other parts of North Uganda. Abducted children were forced to become rebels, turning on their own families, friends and neighbours, or child brides with objections leading to repercussions. Whilst Kony’s actions were deplorable, inexcusable and indefensible, A Brilliant Genocide tells us that his crimes are only but a tip of the iceberg. Thousands of Acholi’s in fact perished at the hands of Museveni’s planned and systematic silent genocide whilst the rest of Uganda and the international community turned a blind eye. According to Olara Otunnu, there was a conspiracy of silence.
How could they have not known? The nightmare in the North of Uganda was well documented. Women and men were raped, sometimes brutally gang raped and deliberately infected with HIV/Aids, murdered in cold blood, forced into ‘protective camps’ where they starved to death and according to the WHO, about 1000 people a week died from treatable and preventable disease.
The docu-film was hard to watch. To see such grave suffering of innocent people, especially children and pregnant women. Harder still, because some of the witnesses were in the audience and were given the opportunity to speak to us afterwards. The scars were still visible in their voices, so to speak.
Why is the world still silent?
Friends of Acholis and Uganda, end the silence. Hear the cries of the mother who has lost her own, the father stripped of all dignity and the child robbed of its innocence.
A Brilliant Genocide exposes the extent of murderous intent of Museveni towards the Acholi, whom he has previously, allegedly referred to as biological substances. Witness statements reveal that people were put into mass graves, covered with earth and set on fire, that villages were attacked and citizens shot at will and yet, no one said a word. There was no condemnation from the international community, not even from our closest neighbours and friends Kenya and Tanzania. The sun rose and set whilst blood of the Acholi’s run free.’
The next screening of A Brilliant Genocide will be on October 21 at the Document International Human Rights Film Festival in Glasgow, followed by an expert panel and key note address and also on October 22nd and 23rd at the 36th Cambridge International Film Festival.
You can help. Your signature alone can make a difference.
Please sign the petition on Change.Org: www.bit.ly/STOPM7
This month alone we have 5 screenings at some great film festivals in the UK and America.
See A Brilliant Genocide at the Long Beach Indie Music and Film Fest, The Voiceless Film Fest (Bay Area CA), The Willifest / Williamsburg International Film Festival or at Raindance Film Festival in London for our UK Premiere!!
Voiceless International Film Festival: Sun Sept 11th: Humanist Hall 290 27th St Oakland (Bay Area, CA) Followed by Q & A with Ann Garrison from KFPA Radio.
Williamsburg International Film Festival: Sun Sept 11th at 9pm: in Brooklyn – Followed by Q & A with Milton Allimadi and Helen Epstein
Raindance Film Festival: UK Premiere at Piccadilly Circus London 27th of September at 3pm and 30th of September at 9pm – Director Ebony Butler will be at both events and available for media and Q and A.
Take a stance against injustice and impunity by sharing this petition and helping reach the audience deserves. #JusticeNow http://bit.ly/STOPM7
Dear U.S. President,
I just saw the harrowing documentary “A Brilliant Genocide” which exposes how for three decades, successive U.S. administrations have supported the Uganda dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni with billions of dollars in financial and military assistance. Gen. Museveni has used this money to entrench his regime in power and commit crimes against the Acholi people in northern Uganda that we maintain amount to genocide and minorities outside of Uganda. Museveni has for 3 decades embarked on a campaign of terror against the Majority Acholi People and also the destabilization of countries outside of his own nation’ borders.
The whole world is familiar with the atrocities committed in northern Uganda by Joseph Kony and his notorious Lord’s Resistance Army. These include killings, rapes, mutilations and the abduction of children who were turned into sex slaves and child soldiers. “A Brilliant Genocide” exposes how Gen. Museveni diabolically exploited the LRA atrocities as cover for his own crimes against the Acholi people.
In “A Brilliant Genocide” we learn that many of the crimes committed by the Ugandan army were just as brutal as those of the LRA, if not more so. These included the rape of women and men, facial mutilations and burying people alive in large pits which were then covered with earth and grass and set on fire to roast the victims alive. In some cases, these atrocities were committed by U.S. trained officers and soldiers carrying U.S. supplied weapons. Humans Rights Groups estimate that more than a million people have perished through massacres and displacements over this period. The atrocities continue.
“A Brilliant Genocide” exposes how Gen. Museveni ordered his army to evict two million Acholis from their homes and confine them in concentration camps where women and girls were victims of sexual assault by Museveni’s soldiers and roughly 1000 people died each week, mostly from starvation and disease, according to a 2005 World Health Organization report. This went on for 20 years, during which time more than one million people may have perished. Museveni seized power in 1986, during the administration of Ronald Reagan. Since then, he has been re-elected five times in elections deemed not free or fair by both international observers and the Ugandan Supreme Court. How can the U.S. continue to aid such a criminal regime?
Dear U.S. President, I demand that:
- The U.S. immediately cut off arms supplies and any military and non-humanitarian support for Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s regime.
- That the U.S. take steps to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes committed by the Museveni regime, including Gen. Museveni himself, face justice, just as the U.S. has demanded of Joseph Kony and his associates face justice.
- That the U.S. use diplomatic pressure and sanctions to force the Ugandan government to compensate victims of all atrocities committed by Museveni’s regime, including the killing of relatives and loss of property such as land and livestock throughout Uganda, not just in the north.
- That the U.S. support the Ugandan opposition and all those fighting for justice in their demand for an independent audit of the Feb. 18, 2016 presidential election. This would be similar to the UN sponsored audit carried out after the disputed election of Ashraf Ghani in Afghanistan.
Please see the film trailer for “A Brilliant Genocide” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE-a-fbv_CM
Take a stance against injustice and impunity by sharing this petition and helping reach the audience deserves. #JusticeNow http://bit.ly/STOPM7
We are honoured to be included in the year’s official selection at the Lighthouse International Film Festival, on Longbeach Island, New Jersey.
This will be the last screening until late August in Moscow. Don’t miss out.
We also have an expert panel joining us after the screening to answer any questions and to offer their expert views.
Allimadi who is also featured in ‘A Brilliant Genocide’ is the Ugandan born editor of www.blackstarnews.com and www.burkinastyle.com and also writes a column for www.huffingtonpost.com His late father was a Ugandan politician and his family fled from Idi Amin’s and then Yoweri Museveni’s reigns of terror.
Info and tickets at : http://liff.festivalgenius.com/2016/films/abrilliantgenocide0_ebonybutler_LIFF2016