Director of the Centro Católico Multimedial, Fr. P. Sergio Omar Sotelo Aguilar, S.S.P., premiered the first chapter of his film Hermano Narco on Sunday in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City as part of a campaign to encourage forgiveness amidst the violence of the drug war.
The ten-minute segment, which can be seen here, tells the story of thirteen-year-old Miri, who, despite family members’ urging her on to vengeance, comes to forgive the drug dealers who killed her parents, even hugging one of them as he crashes her parents’ funeral.
From the Arizona Daily Star:
Sotelo acknowledged that such a scene might be improbable in real life, but insisted that “as mystical and utopic as it may seem, this project comes out of real-life stories.”
He told of one woman he met who decided to forgive her son’s killer.
“She said: ‘I don’t want to see anyone else’s children killed. That is why I pardoned my son’s killer,’ ” Sotelo recalled.
“The message of ‘Hermano Narco’ is that we should strive for common good among Mexicans. Enough with the violence among brothers, enough with the injustice among brothers … Violence begets more violence. Today we launched a message that said: the most profound sentiment, the one that will transform violence is forgiveness,” said Fr. Sotelo in a report from NPR.
The remaining eleven chapters will be released once a month over the course of the coming year. The series “seeks to transform the hearts of criminals, but especially the heart of those who suffer the consequences of these types of tragedies.”
Not everyone welcomes the priest’s efforts:
Anti-crime crusader Isabel Miranda de Wallace had a different view: “I don’t think people can forgive if they don’t even know what happened to the victims, if justice hasn’t been done.”
De Wallace led a decade-long fight to bring to justice the gang that kidnapped and killed her son.
But they haven’t been sentenced yet, and they delayed so long in telling where they left her son’s body that the lot was built over by the time authorities could search it. …
“There are a lot of people who cannot even mourn because we haven’t found the bodies of our relatives,” she said, “so how are you going to go through the process of loss and reach forgiveness if you can’t even get justice?”
The Mexican government estimates that 47,515 have been killed in drug-related violence since former President Felipe Calderón began Operation Michoacán in 2006, though some suggest the administration routinely undercounts.