A series of short films promoted by the Catholic Church in Mexico examines the impact of drug violence and focuses on forgiveness as a way to end the bloodshed.
“Both the victims as well as the victimizers are living in the tragic shadow of drug trafficking," said Father Jose Antonio Ordonana, the priest who spearheaded the production.
“Hermano Narco,” or Brother Narco is the work of the priest and his students at the Catholic Multimedia Center in Mexico City.
Father Ordonana said the series is inspired by real life accounts of people he’s ministered to in regions ravaged by drug violence.
In the first short film, a 13-year-old girl recounts how gunmen burst into her home and killed her parents while she and her young brother hid under the bed.
Later when the killers attend their funeral, she walks up and hugs the main gunman. Critics question just how real that scenario is in a country where more than 70,000 people have been murdered.
Father Ordonana said he witnessed a mother at the funeral forgive her son’s killers because she did not want anymore young people to die.
“In India, South Africa, other countries, forgiveness is real. We’re not talking about utopia,” said Father Ordonana.
Ordonana said it’s not a replacement for justice but one path “to break the chains of violence and revenge in Mexico and other Latin American countries.”
Hermano Narco is spreading that message via social media, in an effort to reach young people involved in the drug trafficking.
“It’s an attempt as young people to share our vision,” said Blanca Jimenez, one of the multimedia students working on the series.
There are plans for 12 short films but right now there is only funding for two.
The next film focuses on immigrants coping with drug violence. By request, future episodes will also include a version with English subtitles.
The ultimate goal: Stop the revenge killings and start to build peace.
“We don’t want more blood. We don’t want more injustice. And we don’t want more victims,” said Father Ordonana.