No Place for a Rebel

Maartje Wegdam , Ariadne Asimakopoulos

Sixteen years after rebels abducted him as a child, Opono Opondo returns home to Uganda as an adult war commander. Now he has to re-adapt to civil society.

Opono grew up to become a war commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army of Joseph Kony. Sixteen years after his abduction by the rebels, Opono must fight for acceptance back home, in a place where he doesn’t know the codes and conventions and where the neighbors fear him. The film shows Opono’s fight for his future, while struggling to come to terms with his past and to reconcile with his family. 

While Opono pursues a new career as a carpenter - he opens a shop and designs business cards – he attempts to reconnect with the people closest to him: his brother, his uncle and his best friend who used to be in the LRA with him. A daytrip to visit his mom painfully exposes how the scars of war also continue to divide them.

One day Opono’s former comrade, LRA top commander Dominic Ongwen, is captured and taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ongwen is charged with seventy counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Questions of accountability start to dominate Opono’s thoughts. Suddenly he gets an opportunity. Opono makes an important decision to save his future.

No place for a Rebel bears witness to the grim reality of a former rebel who tries to break the mold after his return to civil society. The film is an intimate account, a journey into Opono’s world, complicated by the trauma that comes as much from being silenced in the present as from a life shattered by violence. Yet above all, the film shows the courageous attempt of a human being to re-shape his fate.

Credits

Subtitles
NL | EN
Director
Maartje Wegdam , Ariadne Asimakopoulos
Country
Netherlands, The
Type
Documentary
Duration
76 minutes
Themes
child soldiers, courts & tribunals, transitional justice, crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, military, armies, war & armed conflict
Year
2017