ALBA inaugurates Human Rights Film Series

December 4, 2011
By and

Focusing a wide lens on the human rights agenda, ALBA hosted “Impugning Impunity: A Human Rights Documentary Film Series” at the Museum of the City of New York in November. The festival kicked off with Hollman Morris’ Impunity, a film about the victims of state-sponsored terrorism in Colombia and the truth commission that was established to help them discover the whereabouts of missing relatives. This cause is also familiar to many Spanish families who are currently challenging the government to come to terms with the disappearance of thousands of Spaniards during and after the Spanish Civil War.

Trisha Ziff’s The Mexican Suitcase, another of the documentaries presented in the series, not only elaborates on the digging up of mass graves in Spain, but also shows how the legacy of the Second Republic is maintained in Mexico through the photos of Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and David Seymour, as well as through the memories of thousands of Spanish exiles who fled to the Americas.

“Impugning Impunity” presented a total of five films, including Barry Stevens’ Prosecutor, which covers the International Criminal Court and its goal to prosecute human rights violators; Pamela Yates’ Granito, a documentary about the extermination of 200,000 Mayan people by Guatemala’s military; and Patricio Guzman’s Nostalgia of the Light, which focuses on the disappearance of hundreds of Chileans during the reign of dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The film series addressed the dangers of fascism in today’s society and the role that international courts can play to protect human rights. In partnership with ALBA were other organizations—the Puffin Foundation, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Justice and Accountability, the North American Congress for Latin America, the United Nations, and the International Center for Transitional Justice—which together create a powerful platform to spread awareness about our human rights commitment.

The human rights agenda has also become an integral part of ALBA’s educational mission. In our upcoming teachers’ development programs, ALBA’s documentary sources of the Spanish Civil War will be linked with contemporary issues that address the indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations, the targeting of individual suspects, and the use of anonymous technologies to achieve military ends. Seven decades after the end of the Spanish Civil War, Picasso’s Guernica, Robert Capa’s images of homeless refugees, the drawings of Spanish schoolchildren—key visual documents from the 1930s—remain sadly relevant.