The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

Documentary shines light on anti-terrorism efforts

Fourteen years after the anti-terrorism movement began, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History is showing a documentary with a different side of the story: "(T)ERROR."

 “(T)ERROR” brings to light how terrorism has been sensationalized to form public policy. The documentary follows the perspective of a black revolutionary turned informant and reveals the government’s counterterrorism tactics. 

“(T)ERROR,” which is being shown tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center on campus, is part of the Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film screening that runs all semester. The film is free for the public and will be followed up with a discussion with the film’s co-director, Lyric R. Cabral.

“The overall goal is to expose the campus and the community at large to new and exciting filmmakers and to films that are showcasing issues and people of the diaspora,” says Clarissa Goodlett, program and communications manager at the Stone Center. “We really try to push the festival out to folks to make it accessible to anyone interested."

The festival has been running every fall semester for more than 20 years and screens an average of 25 films throughout the semester on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. There is also the “Lunch and a Movie” series, where the Stone Center provides lunch along with a film screening.

The center brings the director or someone else involved in the film to participate in a discussion after the showing.

“Our primary goal here at the Stone Center and at the University is to educate. Specifically it is to educate and bring awareness of the African diaspora,” says Goodlett. 

The films shown range from feature films to short films, and the Stone Center tries to focus on independent filmmakers and people of the diaspora, showcasing work that is not likely to be shown in a movie theater or screened locally.

This year, the films have been global, originating in the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean.

Sophomore Cosima Hernandez is planning on attending the event because she wants to become more involved in activism on campus.

“It is our job as students to be as aware as possible and to learn as much as we can about these issues, so that we don’t become part of the problem," Hernandez said. "It is our responsibility to be up to date on current events and to understand the intersectionalities that go on in the world.”

This particular film sparked Hernandez’s interest because she believes that so much of the anti-terrorism movement is rooted in xenophobia. She said she hopes that the documentary will bring out the truth of what actually goes on in the government.

“Most of the time people view law enforcement, FBI included, as impartial folks who want to just catch the bad guy,” says Shafeah M’Balia, director of Communiversity, a UNC community partner that works to develop new leadership in the social movements — particularly in the black community.

“(The documentary) kind of blows to bits a lot of stereotypes and a lot of myths and misconceptions of what is actually happening out here in the communities," M'Balia said. 

M’Balia has been involved in screening “(T)ERROR” and “The Newburgh Sting,” another documentary with a similar theme, throughout North Carolina. She hopes that these documentaries will bring forward issues that people don’t know about and will challenge students to think critically about what they can do to create change.

“(T)ERROR” was chosen because it brings forward controversial issues around terrorism and the United States and provides a platform for students to engage with the director to uncover more about these issues.

“New information is always coming to light, and it’s always necessary to learn about," Hernandez said.

"You also get to see the informant as well as the informed," M'Balia said.

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