Late last week, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the 2009 primetime Emmy awards. Two nominees stand out. Both "The Greatest Silence," a documentary about violence in eastern Congo, and "The Devil Came on Horseback," which narrates atrocities committed in Darfur provide crucial glimpses into the lives of those affected by some of the world’s worst violence.
In “The Greatest Silence,” Lisa Jackson, a rape survivor herself, chronicles how rape is used as a weapon of war in eastern Congo. She accurately portrays the horrors of sexual violence in the region while also emphasizing the resilience and hope emanating from survivors who move forward with their lives despite their experiences.
“The Devil Came on Horseback” shows the crisis in Darfur through the eyes of Brian Steidle, an American marine officer who worked in the region as an advisor before resigning his post as a result of what he felt was international inattention to the issue.
Documentary film is a powerful medium through which a wide audience can learn and connect with crises a world away. It’s fantastic that filmmakers engaging in the painstakingly difficult work of elucidating the realities of war zones are being recognized for their work.