By Leah 'Simply Leah'McNeil
The 2019 CaribbeanTales Film Festival’s second presentation for Jamaica night is called Children Of The Incursion a short film directed by Ina Sotirova, Eka Campbell and Allan Powell. In 2010, Jamaica’s Tivoli Gardens made international headlines when a war between the supporters of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke and Jamaica’s law enforcement ensued. An extradition order for Coke was handed down from the US authorities, which led to the violence that took the lives of 73 people while Jamaica’s law enforcement attempted to enforce this order. Children Of The Incursion shares this story through the eyes of the children who were there, and made it through this horrific time.
During this documentary we are introduced to five teenagers who were children at the time of these events. While the kids are recalling what is known as the incursion, you can see the pain and fear lingering in their eyes seven years later. Imagine living in a neighborhood where you can be outside playing with your friends and family until late. You never have to look over your shoulders because you know you are safe. The sound of gunfire is foreign because it just doesn’t happen on your street. In a flash all of that changes, because those same streets are now riddled with gunfire. You don’t know who to trust because the gunfire is coming from the people who are supposed to protect, and the people who have been protecting you. Both of those people you once knew as protectors no longer have any regard for the lives of the innocent. Now you’re trapped in your home which is no longer a safe place. A simple glance out your window could lead to you being picked off by a sniper. Medical attention is no longer an option.
This is what these five children have described as we watch on in horror.
Seven years, later the children in this film describe a Tivoli Gardens unlike the one they knew prior to this incursion. Now your doors are always locked. You’re off the street and inside of your house by 6 o’clock. Playing with your family and friends is reserved for the house or front garden, and gunfire has now become the norm. What saddens us even more, is hearing of the lives taken by these trusted people, in some cases right in front of these kids. After seeing this, you would think that there is no hope for these children, however all is not lost. These children are motivated to better, and in some cases get themselves and their families all the way out.
With all stories, there are always at least two sides. Watching Children Of The Incursion definitely reminds us of that. Ina Sotirova, Eka Campbell and Allan Powell also did an excellent job of raising awareness to an issue that is usually overlooked in the Caribbean Islands. When you watch this film, this will become clearer to you and possibly inspire you to take some action.
*Editor’s note: The Children Of The Incursion was screened at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival ‘19