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Screening of Invisible Children in Tokyo

Monday, June 11, 2007 Posted: 02:15 PM JST

(by Jean Miyake Downey) - A special preview of the powerful documentary Invisible Children, showing the horrific plight of children kidnapped for use as child soldiers, wil be held in Tokyo on June 29. The event is organized by The People for Social Change (PSC), a diverse Tokyo-based volunteer social activist group, in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency Refugee Film Festival.

The film depicts children who are internally-displaced in northern Uganda, caught in a civil war between the government and Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group that kidnaps children to use as child soldiers. Statistics show that 50,000 Ugandan children are abducted each year for this purpose. Thousands of physically and psychologically exhausted children flee their homes nightly in order to escape kidnapping. These children walk miles at night to find sanctuary -- in hospitals or bus parks -- beyond the reach of the soldiers.

This documentary, filmed in 2003 by three young Americans while they were university students, has fueled one of the most dramatic grassroots youth movements taking off across American high school and university campuses. The filmmakers, all from San Diego, are determined to give a voice to the voiceless, a social change trend we are seeing all over the world.

And these young activists are aware that humanitarian social change is a multiple-way street. As those who are ostensibly privileged become aware and work to change the situation of others in need, through meeting and encounter with those others, even directly, they are transformed at the moral, and emotional level. And those they are "helping," also experience psychological healing and strengthening, knowing that others in the world care. As individual psyches change, so does the collective social landscapes belonging to us all. The world shifts.

PSC's screening of Invisible Children in Tokyo shows the spontaneous power of grassroots social change at the transnational level:

"Invisible Children has a two-fold purpose: We try to change minds in the western world and we try to change lives in the developing world. We do this because we believe that changing our world begins with changing ourselves and our nation, and that this change in culture will drive policy that will ultimately affect lives across the world. While the impact on the youth of our programs in the western world is reason enough for the allocation of time and resources, these programs will also help accomplish sustainable change in Northern Uganda through their impact on culture and policy."

The film is in English, with Japanese subtitles, and a representative from the UNHCR will there to introduce the film and answer questions.

The showing will be at the RBR Center for Creative Arts in the Roppongi/Azabu Juban area of Tokyo (1-23 Moto-Azabu 3-Chome, Minato Ku, Tokyo 03-5770-7401) on Friday June 29 from 7pm at RBR Art Centre in Roppongi. Advanced registration by June 27, requested but not mandatory. Due to space restrictions, attendance is limited to the first 40 people who sign up.

Please contact skillsbuild [at] gmail [dot] com for details or to sign up.

Jean Miyake Downey is a contributing editor at the Kyoto Journal: Perspectives on Asia (www.kyotojournal.org), an award-winning English-language quarterly published in Kyoto, Japan. She covers multicultural and transnational issues. Drawing on her background as a sociologist and lawyer, she takes an interdisciplinary look at the nexuses between historical and contemporary hybridity and fusion; global cultural trauma and historical healing; the revival and survival of traditional and indigenous cultures; and global human rights movements.

Keywords: arts_entertainment

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