Fombul Tok

There has been a lot of negativity lately. Social media, radio, and television have elevated partisan ranting to an art form. It seems like everyone is talking louder and louder. We are acting like we are playing a zero sum game. Its all or nothing and there is no middle ground.

Instead of being angry and feeding the hysteria I thought I would take a few minutes to contemplate a truly amazing movement happening in Sierra Leone. Fombul Tok is a type a documentary and a peace and reconciliation movement happening in the aftermath of the devastating 11 year civil war in that country.

This film is witness to communities that have gone about the hard work of reconciliation and forgiveness. People are living side by side the very people who beat them and killed their family members. Fombul Tok (Family Talk) is a process of confession and asking for forgiveness and then being offered forgiveness. This is a simple and yet excruciatingly painful process.

There is a saying in Sierra Leone. “There is no bad bush to throw out a bad baby.” It means that every person is important and necessary for there to be wholeness in the community.

The documentary comes back to these communities after they have had time to live in the after effects of these rituals. What they find are communities that are beginning to thrive again. New partnerships are forming and real forgiveness has taken root.

We could all take a lesson from these brave folks. I long for a day when we can stop playing our zero sum games and learn to actually get along.

For more about Fombul Tok check out:

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