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Grace, Milly, Lucy... Child Soldiers

The lush, verdant landscapes of Uganda make it one of the most beautiful places on this planet. But only to look at: To live in this African nation is hell on Earth. As bad as the 1970s reign of Ida Amin was, the atrocities committed on the civilian population by the rebel group that calls itself the Lord’s Resistance Army are so horrifying that it is difficult to get your mind around them. The LRA ranks consist largely of children who have been kidnapped (often with their parents slaughtered in the process) and forced to become soldiers. Several documentaries have focused on the experiences of boys in the LRA. But the group takes girls, too, who are not only trained to become brutal killers but forced to function as “wives.”

Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Soldiers focuses on three women who were taken by the LRA as children and lived to escape. All now work in various ways to help other escapees reenter society—a particular problem for those shunned because they have children born of rape. Particularly compelling is the story of Milly and Lucy, who now work with a group called Empowering Hands: Lucy was with the LRA long enough to rise in its ranks, and was responsible for torturing Lucy. That these women work to save others gives an element of hope to an ongoing story that is unfortunately too easy to turn away from.

Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Soldiers will be shown on Thursday March 10 at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center as part of the ongoing International Women’s Film Festival. The program also includes two short films, the animated “Robes of War” and “The Delian Mode,” about the career of electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire.

m. faust

Watch the trailer for Grace, Milly, Lucy... Child Soldiers

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