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The Axe and the Tree

first_imgThe healing circle is open to both victimsand perpetrators.Using the analogy of a tree, which mayendure trauma and yet survive,participants are encouraged to share theirstories and begin the healing process.(Image: Curious Pictures)MEDIA CONTACTS • Refik HodzicICTJ communications director+1 917 637 3853 or +1 917 975 2305• Viva Liles-WilkinPR and communications, Curious Pictures+27 11 726 2828 or +27 76 327 0154RELATED ARTICLES• Giving Zimbabwe’s diaspora a voice• Victoria Falls rising• Zimbabwe’s turning point?• Khama: lift sanctions on Zimbabwe• Zimbabwean fathers fight HIVJanine ErasmusThe healing work of an empowerment NGO in strife-torn Zimbabwe is the subject of a gripping documentary titled The Axe and the Tree, which premiered in Johannesburg at the end of May 2011.Directed by Zimbabwean Rumbi Katedza, produced by Johannesburg-based Curious Pictures, and supported by the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the film focuses on the work of the Tree of Life, a local NGO that conducts community healing workshops in Zimbabwe.The 42-minute film takes place in the suburbs around the country’s capital, Harare, and was shot during the second half of 2010. It features a group of survivors of the violence that swept the country during the elections of 2008, and four individuals in particular.Despite the possibility of reprisals, the participants agreed to tell their stories on film, reliving the events of that time, and expressing their hopes for the future.Onscreen, they spoke of their ordeals – husbands were forced to watch as their wives were raped; and wives endured long periods without their husbands, who had been taken away for interrogation and torture.The Tree of Life is working with these individuals to help them overcome their anger and the desire for revenge, and allow them to move forward. Using trees as a tool, the workshop leader starts off by asking participants to choose a tree, and then, through contemplation, to liken their lives to its leafy experiences.According to a Shona proverb, the axe will forget, but the tree that has been chopped will never forget.Survivors at first find it hard to share their stories freely, but by drawing strength from the group, they identify similarities between themselves and their chosen tree, which may have suffered disease or drought, or even had its limbs removed, but still lives and grows.“I saw that this tree had been hacked and that nails had been driven through it,” said one participant. “I felt that God had led me to this tree for a reason. If a tree can survive damage and still bear fruit to feed birds and people, there is nothing to stop me from also standing firm in times of tribulation.”Many facilitators are survivors who have completed the course and have received training in the Tree of Life methodology. Remorseful perpetrators are also welcomed into the circle, and encouraged to participate in Tree of Life sessions to add momentum to the national healing.Media freedom a matter of life and deathAfter the screening of the premiere, director Katedza, Zimbabwe-born activist Elinor Sisulu and Howard Varney of the ICTJ discussed the film with the audience, of whom a number were Zimbabwean exiles and activists.“Zimbabwe is in a fragile state of transition,” said Varney, “compounded by the legacy of organised violence and torture. The situation presents a huge challenge for Zimbabwe, the Southern African community, and the African Union.”He said that he was inspired by the film. “These people wanted to share their pain with the rest of Zimbabwe and the world.”Varney also said that there was an urgent need for measures against organised violence, as only this would create the proper conditions for free and fair elections, as well as participatory constitution-making.“This film shows ordinary people doing something extraordinary,” said Katedza. “It’s important that they tell their stories, because the media wasn’t allowed to capture the events of 2008. Many Zimbabweans didn’t even know what was happening to their compatriots. Now, their voices can at last be heard.”She added that speaking out was an important part of moving forward, and that, while it described violent events, the documentary’s central theme was one of healing.Sisulu said media freedom was often a matter of life and death, and that prominence in the media offered a sort of protection, as it was more likely that anonymous people would be victimised.“We pay tribute to Zimbabweans who are risking their lives to expose this type of crime.”With the ruling party insisting on elections in 2011 in Zimbabwe – although there are reports now that these may take place in 2012 – Sisulu said that the Southern African community had a responsibility to prevent the events of 2008 from happening again.Political violenceIn mid-2008 Zimbabweans prepared to vote in the presidential and parliamentary election, with three candidates in the running – Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), independent Simba Makoni and incumbent Robert Mugabe.The first round of presidential voting produced no outright winner, although Tsvangirai led Mugabe by 48% to 43% – a result that took one recount and over a month to materialise.Because the MDC lead wasn’t enough to avoid a second round of voting, this was then scheduled, but Tsvangirai withdrew because of alleged violence against his party’s supporters. Voting went ahead anyway, giving Mugabe a clear road to victory.The entire election process, especially the uncontested second round, was widely criticised.Violence broke out around the country, with each side blaming the other, but even before the election took place, people became the victims of violence for no reason other than that they were not supporters of the ruling party. According to the ICTJ, over 15 000 human rights violations were carried out, just in this period.Victims were kidnapped, tortured, beaten, raped, and their houses were burned – and for many people in other countries around the world, ongoing political violence and persecution is something that they too have to live with. The Axe and the Tree may be set in Zimbabwe, but the story it tells is a universal one.The ICTJ and other organisations that work in situations of transitional justice help to address these occurrences through instruments such as truth commissions, prosecutions, and other programmes.Refik HodzicICTJ communications directoroffice: +1 917 637 3853mobile: +1 917 975 [email protected]last_img read more

James Harden churns out another 40-point game as Rockets beat Suns

first_imgHarden sank a pair of 3s in an 8-0 run and Houston led 101-88 with 7:05 remaining.The Suns kept it close in the first half, despite Harden’s 22 points, five assists and five rebounds.Harden scored inside twice to ignite a 9-2 spurt that put Houston up 50-42 on Paul’s wide-open 3 with 6:03 left in the half. Austin Rivers’ 3 gave Houston its biggest lead of the half, 57-46, with 3:21 left. The Rockets led 63-57 at the break.The Suns tried a new defensive strategy on Harden and, overall results notwithstanding, it worked pretty well some of the time.“James forces teams to do a coverage that you usually don’t do,” Booker said. “It was new for us, first time to do it. … I feel we did pretty well, kept it close, (were) in striking distance most of the game.”KOBE’S TAKEHarden more or less agreed with Kobe Bryant’s comments that the Rockets won’t win a title with Harden dominating the ball so much.Harden doesn’t expect to have to do that when the playoffs come around.“I have to ball-dominate with all of the injuries,” he said. “We have had the injuries throughout the course of the year. Right now he is probably right. This way that we are playing won’t happen in the playoffs, won’t get us where we want to go, but we haven’t had a full roster. Yet I am excited for that to come.”TIP-INS Rockets: Through 50 games, Harden has 658 3-point attempts, seventh-most for an entire season in NBA history. … Houston was without Eric Gordon (right knee soreness) and Clint Capela (right thumb injury). … Five former Suns are on the Rockets’ roster: P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight and Danuel House Jr. That’s not counting Rivers, waived by the Suns immediately after he and Oubre came over from Washington in a trade for Trevor Ariza.Suns: Phoenix again didn’t have T.J. Warren (right ankle soreness) and De’Anthony Melton (right ankle sprain). … The Suns have lost 10 straight at home to Houston. They last beat the Rockets in Phoenix on April 15, 2013.UP NEXTRockets: Play at Sacramento on Wednesday night.Suns: Play at Utah on Wednesday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Josh Jackson scored 25 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. 23 and Devin Booker 19 for the Suns. Deandre Ayton added 15 points and 11 boards. Booker left in the fourth quarter with a tight hamstring.The Suns never led but stayed close through the first half before falling behind by 20 in the third quarter.Phoenix cut it to single digits on several occasions in the fourth only to be thwarted by a basket from Harden or Paul. Harden scored 14 in the final quarter.Up by six at halftime, the Rockets opened a big lead in the third quarter. Harden sank a 3-pointer from the corner and Faried dunked a rebound to cap a 13-4 run that put Houston up 84-68. The Rockets boosted the lead to 20 three times in the quarter, the last at 94-74 on Paul’s two free throws with 1:02 left. But the Suns finished the period on a 6-0 spurt as Oubre’s 3-pointer at the buzzer cut the Rockets’ advantage to 94-80 entering the fourth.The run reached 10-0 when Phoenix scored the first four of the final quarter, making it 94-84 on Oubre’s dunk with 10:57 to play.ADVERTISEMENT PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) yells after making a three pointer against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball game,, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Phoenix. The Rockets won 118-110. (AP Photo/Matt York)PHOENIX — Another 40-point game for James Harden. That makes 20 of them this season.The reigning MVP scored 44 points and the Houston Rockets beat Phoenix 118-110 on Monday night to hand the Suns their season-worst 11th straight loss.ADVERTISEMENT Harden joined Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Rick Barry as the only players with 20 games of at least 40 points in the first 50 of a season.Harden, who also had eight rebounds and six assists, extended his streak of games with at least 30 points to 27, third-longest in NBA history. The only longer streaks are 65 and 31 games, both by Chamberlain.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“I’m just trying to keep going. Nothing can slow me down,” Harden said. “Nothing can stop me. I’m trying to give that same motivation to my teammates and it’s not about scoring, it’s about attacking the game, being aggressive with the game of basketball — defensively, offensively. That’s all I can give to them.”Chris Paul scored 18 and Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who were without two starters. 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