'Incredible story about ruin and redemption'
A new feature-length film documenting the untold story of Christian missionaries saving lives during a time of tribal genocide in Nigeria 50 years ago has been released
The Disturbances tells the actions of the missionaries and local pastors in the country when thousands of people, mostly Igbos and Easterners, were brutally killed in a few days in the fall of 1966 in Northern Nigeria. The death toll would have been higher if they had not taken action to save lives.
Their heroic work has been unknown, primarily because those involved never spoke about what happened - using veiled language and euphemisms, such as "the disturbances," in public reports and statements.
The film has been produced by EthicsDaily.com, a division of the Baptist Center for Ethics (BCE). The producers conducted more than two dozen on-camera interviews, acquired nearly 2,500 documents, slides and photographs, obtained several hours of missionary 8mm and 16mm home movies, worked with roughly a dozen different denominational, educational and filmic archives, and talked to scores of other witnesses.
Interviewees include missionaries and missionary children with the Assemblies of God, Christian Reformed Church, Church of the Brethren, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Southern Baptist Convention, Sudan Interior Mission and Sudan United Mission, as well as Nigerians.
BCE founder Robert Parham was the child of missionary parents in Nigeria during the genocide. ‘What Nigerian pastors and missionaries did to save lives during a time of tribal genocide, in which an estimated 30,000 Igbos and Easterners were brutally killed, is a true story that every Christian ought to know,’ he said.
‘Simply put: This is an incredible story about ruin and redemption, blood and boldness, denial and dedication, guilt and goodness. The Disturbances is both horrifying and inspiring.’
'The Disturbances is a first-class piece of documentary that recovers a vital piece of history that could have been lost forever,' wrote former Baptist Times editor Mark Woods, now a contributing editor to Christian Today. 'But it's also a window into how Christians responded at a time of terrible danger and distress, and how they remained faithful to their calling.
'It is not just informative, but inspirational.'
Photo: Carrie Robison Young
EthicsDaily.com is a leading producer of faith-based films, EthicsDaily.com's most recent documentary was on prisons and faith – Through the Door, a title that highlights the gate through which Christians walk to visit those in prison and from which emerge those whom Christians should welcome back into society.
Gospel Without Borders explored the plight of the undocumented and what churches were doing to address the immigration issue. Underwritten largely by the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, it was distributed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to every bishop, encouraging them to use the documentary in their parishes.
Screenings of The Disturbances are currently taking place in the US. It will be shown at the 2017 Leeds International Film Festival.
For more information, including pre-ording the DVD and book, visit www.TheDisturbances.com, and the film’s Facebook and Twitter pages.