Next Muna conference   February 15-17 2023

A conference that cares

Interview with Jakob de Jonge - MUNA 2016

January 24th 2016

Interview Jakob de Jonge of The Hague Peace Projects

Jakob de Jonge is together with Sylvestre Bwirea one of the keynote speakers during the opening ceremony. He will accompany Sylvestre Bwira and will translate the questions of the audience from English to French and Sylvestre’s responses from French to English. He is also associated with this year’s charity and took the initiative of the Film project MUNA and The Hague Peace Projects collaborate in. Jakob and Sylvestre addressed junior students at Alfrink in the War and Peace project, June 2015.

What I am curious about is how did you come up with the idea to make a film about the conflict in DCR?

We are working together with a journalist, Anneke Verbraeken, who visits Eastern Congo several times a year. She had just visited a school in Goma there and she was impressed by it: the richer students pay for the poorer students so in the end everyone can attend this school. She imagined then already that it would be nice if these students there could somehow be in touch with students in The Netherlands. When we got the request of Alfrink College, we got the idea to make a film about both schools.

So people watch the movie, but what is next? How can people help improve the situation in DRC? How do you wish people respond to your film?

People in The Netherlands are more important than they know. We live in a democracy. This means that it matters what we think and what we do because our government has to listen if we demand something. When people know more about this conflict and people start asking good questions, our leaders have to act. And The Netherlands and the European Union have a lot of interests in Eastern Congo and are in a position to build true and sustainable peace but we as ordinary people have to push them.

What were the challenges in making this film?

We are in the middle of the process now, so I find it hard to say. Maybe there just aren't many challenges? I just think it is going fine!

Where and when will the film appear once it is done?

We are not very sure yet when but at the moment we are talking to KRO-NCRV and to the NOS to have it on television. Also we will show it on other places like festivals. We will keep you updated when we know more! So you have been to Alfrink College before.

How did you and Sylvester experience it?

I like your school, it is much more active education than I can remember from my own school. To be honest I found my own secondary school a bit boring and not so relevant. It is good that you are talking about the things that really matter. Why did you specifically choose to do the film about the conflict in the DCR?

We chose Congo because you don't often hear about it. It is one of the biggest countries in Africa but also one of the poorest and most violent. It is estimated that between 6 and 10 million people have died as a result of war and violence over the past twenty years. That is just enormous. Unimaginable. It is just like an entire country like Sweden would have been swiped off the map. Still most people don't know much about it. We thought it would be good to inform people this way.

Will you do a similar project about other conflicts in other regions?

Yes, that is very likely. Besides Congo we are now also working on the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, on the war in Syria and about conflicts in Bangladesh. I think that artistic and cultural things like making a film or an exhibition is a very good educational tool to show people what is going on in the world and make them aware, not only about these conflicts but also about their own position in the world.