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September 2, 2015
Barely contained chaos epitomized our shoot with 100 Somali extras on the JOURNEY set yesterday. I know how much Dan loved his proud and determined Somali friends, and I also know how volatile they can be on occasion. Amy and I witnessed this characteristic when we visited Mogadishu to shoot “Dying to tell the Story” back in 1997, and barely escaped a potentially deadly confrontation when we ventured back to the site where Dan and his three friends were killed. As a result, I was apprehensive when we arrived at our location, designed to replicate a feeding station in Mogadishu in 1992 which fed hundreds of starving people. And in truth, it was a tense day on set, one which left me feeling quite disturbed. According to all reports, it’s tough being a non-South African in this country where refugees are not appreciated and “zenophobia” is a word you see on billboards as something to combat, so perhaps it’s not surprising that many of the Somalis we hired seemed quite defensive and on guard throughout the long day, punctuated by prayer breaks. I hope they will feel more relaxed and safe during the days to come, when we will be shooting the challenging combat scenes that take place in Mogadishu, which will be re-created three hours outside Joburg. During the next three weeks I hope to find a way that Creative Visions Foundation can assist a Somali Community Center in Pretoria to help their members help themselves. I know that’s something Dan would have liked us to do. When he and his friends were killed, I understood why the survivors of the mortar attack were so enraged-and why they lashed out at the people they thought were responsible. I used to wonder what I might have done had I witnessed the death of my son, brother or father. I like to think I wouldn’t have picked up a stone or a stick, but I don’t know.
Posted by Kathy Eldon on Wednesday, September 2, 2015