The short documentaries listed below were produced by Women, War & Peace in conjunction with independent journalists from around the world.
In Spanish they’re called the feminicidios. Hundreds, maybe thousands of women have been murdered or disappeared in and around Juarez, Mexico in a wave of violence that began in the early 1990s. There is no generally accepted reason why women are targeted in the violence stemming from the drug trade, and most of the murders remain unsolved. David Rochkind, a photographer based in Mexico, produced this multimedia piece featuring two women from Juarez whose daughters disappeared without a trace.
Last May, a group of about 60 women, some in colorful African dress, others in modest Islamic garb, a few in Western-style suits, met in Juba, soon to be the capital of the new nation of South Sudan, to discuss their country’s constitution. Women in South Sudan face obstacles that are hard to fathom — more than 80 percent of South Sudanese women are illiterate, and the country has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world.
Colombia’s long and violent conflict has made it home to the second largest internally displaced population in the world. Caught between right-wing paramilitary groups and left-wing guerrillas waging war in rural areas, Afro Colombian and indigenous communities have been disproportionately affected by the war. Seven years ago, the native Wayuu village of Bahia Portete fell victim to paramilitary interests. Situated on a natural bay on the border of Venezuela, Bahia Portete’s port is an ideal hub for drug trafficking and international commerce. Its land is also rich in coal, attracting mining interests for the paramilitaries to exploit.
Not long ago, the Foca river valley in eastern Bosnia was known as “the black hole of Bosnia” because of its reputation for harboring war criminals and history as the backdrop of some of the worst ethnic cleansing committed against non-Serbs during the country’s war in the mid-1990s. But in recent years, fed up with economic isolation and disrepute, Foca’s Serb residents have sought help from one of their own. Elected in 2004, and again in 2008, Foca mayor Zdravko Krsmanovic has been waging a full-scale community makeover. His mission is to re-brand the region as a tourist destination.
Before the Marines deployed all-female units, known as Female Engagement Teams, reaching the hearts and minds of half Afghanistan’s population — Afghan women — was nearly impossible. Because of strong cultural traditions, particularly in the tribal Pashtun regions of the country, men are forbidden from interacting with women unless bonded by marriage or blood. And as a result, coalition forces have been limited in whom they can talk to when trying to engage in the kind of small-scale diplomacy that can prevent an angry villager from joining the insurgency.
Though rates have dropped in recent years, Colombia was once know as the kidnapping capital of the world. Colombian congresswoman Consuelo González de Perdomo survived seven years captivity in the jungle, relying on moldy bread for sustenance and the radio for contact with the outside world. Here’s her story, as told by Colombian-born animator Juana Medina.
The wall, the fence, the barrier. Whatever you call it, the structure built over the past 10 years to separate Israel and the West Bank also separates many Palestinians from their places of work, their land, their family members. And the checkpoints Palestinians must pass through to get from one side to the other have become points of tension. The women of Machsom Watch observe these checkpoints to make sure that the Israeli soldiers guarding them treat the Palestinians trying to pass in a humane manner.
Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian activist who led a women’s peace movement that helped bring an end to her country’s long civil war, a story depicted in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell. In October 2011, Gbowee was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, together with two other female peacebuilders, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman. We spoke to Gbowee a few days after the Nobel announcement about what happens next.
In this behind-the-scenes video at a recording studio in Los Angeles, actress and activist Geena Davis, narrator of Women, War & Peace episode 5: War Redefined, talks about what she thinks of — and what she’s learned from — the Women, War & Peace series. The message that stood out for her is that these days, it’s more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier.
In this behind-the-scenes video at a recording studio in New York, actor and activist Matt Damon, narrator of Women, War & Peace Episode 1: “I Came To Testify” talks about why the themes of this series matter to everyone — men included.
The Women, War & Peace Documentary Shorts series was produced by Senior Multimedia Producer Lauren Feeney, Multimedia Producer Caitlin Thompson and Senior Producer Nina Chaudry.