Who Stole Reality?

Tamba was an example of what I call real ‘reality’. I met him when he was 18 and for the most part of the eight years before I met him he had been a killer, a child soldier in my country’s terrible ten year long civil war.

For all his crimes and there were many, Tamba was and is an innocent, ripped from his childhood by people who should have known better.

They too, are part of the cycle of violence and evil that grew out of injustice, wrongs done to people by governments that didn’t care. At the beginning they were ‘irrelevant’ so they did things like creating soldiers out of children that eventually made them relevant.

Tamba has not been destroyed by his experiences as a child soldier. He is a good guy. He needs to know the good that is in him and so do all my countrymen and women in Sierra Leone.
In the film I made with Tamba called Return to Freetown, I hope I have shown people a way to forgive Tamba and all the child soldiers for what they did and I hope the child soldiers like Tamba can learn to forgive themselves because that is the purpose, I think of good journalism – to show us all a way out of the cycle of violence by understanding how we got there in the first place.

For me the saddest thing is that it is becoming more and more difficult to make my films. The stories of Tamba and all the other “innocents” do not make popular television – according to the broadcasters. I suppose they’re just another business although I had always hoped – I had always felt they were better than that.

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