April 6, 1994 was the beginning of the 100 days of genocide in Rwanda. Dr. James Orbinski was a field doctor with Médecins Sans Frontières and was stationed there during this time. His challenge in such horrible circumstances was to decide who gets treatment, who gets food, who lives and who dies. It’s an impossible situation and one that forced Orbinski to experience the best and worst of humanitarian assistance and of humanity itself.
In an interview with The Hub last year, Orbinski had this to say about his film, Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma:
“My hope for the film is that it will spark people to question more deeply the nature of humanitarian action and in that questioning come to an understanding that recognizes that humanitarian space must be protected in war. Crimes against humanity and genocide are political crimes that require a political response. They are not humanitarian issues. They are political issues that require not simply a humanitarian response to those who are suffering but they require citizen engagement. They require that American, Canadian, European, African and citizens from other parts of the world engage their governments and insist upon full respect for international humanitarian law, full respect for refugee law and full respect for conventions that seek to prevent the use of torture in warfare.”
The French version of Triage screens Wednesday, April 8 at 7:00 pm at the NFB CineRobotheque in Montreal. Check the Web site for details.
The film will also be broadcast on Global TV on Saturday, April 11 at 8:00 pm (9:00 pm AST).
Watch more clips from our Triage playlist.