After working on All God’s Children for five years, (and right now also having watched it 7 times at screenings in the last 4 weeks) I have to admit that I’m quite accustomed to the tone, the words and the stories in the film. So I’m always startled and saddened when I hear a description of the events of Mamou in someone else’s words – making it fresh and upsetting all over again.
The article by Julia Duin in today’s Washington Times starts off with such a shocking description:
[…] the stories of more than 80 children whose days at a Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) boarding school in Mamou, Guinea, in West Africa sound like something out of Abu Ghraib: savage beatings, sexual abuse, rape and sadistic punishments.
This article doesn’t just focus on our film and thus reveals more information than we could include – e.g., about Marilyn Christman’s additional personal experiences, reports of other abused MKs and the only two other investigations made public (Presbyterian Church – USA and United Methodist Church).
Please read the article and leave a comment on the article’s page to let Julia Duin, The Washington Times and other reporters know that you are interested in this story. The abuse of MKs and the cover-up is much, much larger than what’s depicted in our film and more reporting in national media is necessary to continue breaking down the wall of silence around this subject.
The article as it was published originally contained a severe error, which has now finally been corrected in the online version. All the links in this post lead to the corrected article.
We are horrified at the thought that the printed version still exists with the error, which implicates men of crimes they did not commit. We were very careful in making the film to not name anyone who hadn’t already been proven to be guilty. This is a very delicate subject matter and we wouldn’t want anyone to be hurt unnecessarily – nor do we want the audience to have any reason to doubt the stories we tell.
As editors we work meticulously on every frame of our film to control every last detail – it can be a frustrating experience to then share your work and realize that you don’t have control over how people perceive or interpret your work or the conversations around it. Of course in all this we are very appreciative of getting the story of the abused MKs out in the media at all. But it’s important for us, the people in the film, all the survivors and the accused that this continues to be “truth telling” and not just “story telling”.