directed by: Jeremy Gilley
It’s probably not well known that September 21st is UN International Day of Peace. Maybe you saw a 5 second bit on the news, or had no clue at all like me. Even if today is a Day of Peace – what does it mean? Is it just as obscure and ignored as much as Wife Appreciation Day (September 19th)?
The Day After Peace is a documentary showing one man’s determination to make September 21st more than just a day on the calendar. Jeremy Gilley founded the organization Peace One Day in an effort to get countries all over the world to agree to a day of cease-fire and non-violence. Faced with cynicism and rejection, Jeremy spent over a decade meeting with different representatives and organizations determined to make the International Day of Peace truly a day of non-violence.
This film played at Cannes and a variety of film festivals all over the world in 2008 but received no theatrical distribution, at least as far as I could tell from IMDb. I will admit that the film itself is a bit of a mess – with the first 30 minutes seeming aimless and tedious. The film gradually celebrates small successes, including a media endorsement from Angelina Jolie. But it isn’t until Jude Law and the World Heath Organization get involved that the film starts to focus on the possibility of real strides in the name of peace.
In the summer of 2007, Jeremy and Jude travel to Afghanistan in attempt to promote the upcoming International Day of Peace. The goal is to have a cease-fire understanding from all parties so that neutral health organizations can vaccinate children in areas of the country that are typically too dangerous for aide workers to travel.
The breakthrough came in the form of a signed letter from a high-up member of the Taliban movement which stated the importance of the health of the children and agreed to a cease-fire so that aide workers could provide vaccinations. Because of this, 1.4 million children were vaccinated on the UN International Day of Peace and no aide worker was harmed. In addition, there were other non-violence successes and celebrations around the world.
Jeremy and the Peace One Day organization continue to promote non-violence on September 21st with the idea that one day of non-violence is a stepping stone for having world peace every day of the year. In addition, Jeremy continues to document his efforts which will be included in a new version of the film currently in production. I hope Jeremy considers making improvements to the structure of the first 30 minutes next time around. If you want more information on Peace One Day, go to www.peaceoneday.org.
Oh right…I’d give it a C+.