By Paul Roy Barigayomwe, edited by Jim Luce.
New York, N.Y. Although it took me over 20 hours to get here by plane, my journey actually began two years ago. It started in 2010 when I met a lady, Sandra Schulberg. She was in Uganda to show her film, The Nuremberg, Its Lessons For Today. This was part of the activities of the first-ever Review Conference on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that took place from 31 May to 11 June 2010 in Kampala, where I lived.
The propaganda film Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) was a result of the 1934 rally. The 1935 rally saw Hitler order the Reichstag to meet at Nuremberg and pass the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws that tragically revoked German citizenship for all Jews.
I was in charge of the facility chosen to screen The Nuremberg which was to screen with a number of other films relating to war crimes. The dramatic incident that caused Sandra and I to grow closer than expected was the sudden interference of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that ordered us to stop the screening of Nuremberg which was the first of the five or so films set to show at the Watoto Church Main Auditorum, a former cinema hall.
About 10 or 15 minutes into the screening, plain clothed men stormed in and ordered us to stop rolling the film with the infamous Ugandan statement “Orders From Above.” Sandra and I approached the one who seemed to be the leader of the team and asked him who he was and why he had stopped us from showing the film. He rudely looked on, adamantly refusing to give us an explanation for their actions, leave alone identify himself.
In this strange land I call home where rule of law is more of a fairy tale, with all our disgruntlements and discontent, we bowed out. We were well aware that these “good men” who were supposed to be there to serve the people and to keep law and order wielded outrageous power, standing on their “Orders From Above.” They were so capable of roughing us up, bundling us onto their pickup truck and whisking us off to God knows where – scenes that are daily bread to the people of Uganda.
With such a close call for Sandra and I, we took a few moments to calm down from the trauma of the moment. As we talked through a few of the numerous concerns that dominate the political scene in Uganda, I reassured Sandra and we departed after about thirty minutes of interaction. These rather traumatic events cemented our friendship.
We kept in touch. Over a year later Sandra asked me to help translate Nuremberg into Luganda. What an appropriate film to capture the truth that no person or regime should ever trample on the liberties of its citizens. The film would be a fitting reminder for the bigots that rule in Uganda. That their days are numbered, that their “game” can’t carry on forever. Just like the tyrants of the World Wars were brought down by the blood of the millions they had liquidated in sheer wickedness, so their fall too is eminent and just around the corner.
Translating Nuremberg has been a challenging journey for me. I come from a land where public liberties are downtrodden, where the dignity of citizens is a dream from the furthest land of fantasy. The injustice that roams through the cities, towns and villages alike leave no stone untouched, no heart unbroken, no resource un-plundered. Injustice is right in your face, wherever you look. Deceit, treachery, craftiness, skims, greed, bigotry all of which came alive for me as I went through the scripts of Nuremberg.
When the script stage of translating Nuremberg to Luganda was completed, I thought my job was done. Little did I know that we still had quite a journey to take before we could call it a day for this historical film to be ready to be shown to the local people of Uganda. Sandra still needed my help at the subtitling stage of the translation. This would require me to journey thousands of miles away from home to a land of democracy. And I gladly welcomed Sandra’s suggestion because it is always an inspiration to travel to these lands where the liberties of the people are a matter of priority. Where the power lies within their hands, where the law of the land does govern the land, where no man is above the law.
It is today a bitter sweet experience because it always grieves my heart as I wonder Why here? Why not in Uganda? But then hope wells up within my troubled heart and whispers… “It is only a matter of time… the days of the tyrants are numbered. It will soon be a new season, a new day, and a new breed running the show we’ve all been waiting for… but this will take work… hard work.”
One fine Sunday morning, as I set out by subway to the East Village to help one of Sandra’s Columbia University students with a film project. While I was engrossed in my MTA map, a smart looking, tall gentleman sat next to me on the crowded train. With concern for a stranger that is not so typical of the ever-busy New Yorkers he asked me, “Do you know where you are going?” I answered him almost confidently, “Yes I do.” He asked me where I was from and what I was doing in New York and I summed up my sojourns to him.
We happened to have quite a lot in common. He was involved with charity work and specifically orphan children, just like I had worked with Watoto in Uganda. He handed me his business card and invited me to his office for coffee. Yes all this in a matter of five minutes, in New York, on a subway train, in between the train stops. Amazing!
I did go for the coffee and, yes, I did do my research first – just in case – thanks to Google, Wikipedia and all our dot com toys. He turned out to be Jim Luce, founder of Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) and president of the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation. I am proud to be associated with the amazing, inspiring work he does as a writer and a goodwill ambassador, a mentor of this day and age out to champion the cause of empowering young leaders across the globe to rise up and take the baton. I rise to his challenge.
Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today depicts the most famous courtroom drama in modern times, and the first to make extensive use of film as evidence. It was also the first trial to be extensively documented, aurally and visually. All of the proceedings, which lasted for nearly 11 months, were recorded. And though the trial was filmed while it was happening, strict limits were placed on the Army Signal Corps cameramen by the Office of Criminal Counsel. In the end, they were permitted to film only about 25 hours over the entire course of the trial. This was to prove a great impediment for writer/director Stuart Schulberg, and his editor Joseph Zigman, when they were engaged to make the official film about the trial, in 1946, shortly after its conclusion.
The Film's Structure and Content. The film follows the structure of the trial, using the four counts of the indictment as its organizing principle. While much of the film is set in the courtroom, Nuremberg reconstructs the prosecution’s case and rebuts the defendants’ assertions by relying on the Nazis’ own films. Nuremberg therefore cuts back and forth to these films.