The New Sun

Filmmaker and Peace Messenger

Editor's Comment (15 seconds of audio)

Michael Douglas, a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 1998, has made a fascinating documentary with the UN that tells the story of child soldiers in Sierra Leone. These brave young fighters reunite with their families and adjust to life after the 10-year civil war in their country.

Mr. Douglas helps successfully locate the family of one of the children. Said one observer, "He handled the entire scene -- which was not scripted and which unfolded with unbelievable rapidity in a few hours -- with great sensitivity and diplomatic, artistic skill."
He also talks with a group of former child combatants about their experiences and hopes for the future; and conducts an excellent in-depth interview with a teenager named Swankey, who is now a radio announcer.

"The film will be a positive message and put in perspective the issue of child soldiers," said Michael.

During his stay in Sierra Leone, Michael visited various locations and saw the UN peacekeepers, citizens and soldiers rebuilding communities.

Post-war improvements include renovating mosques and churches, developing a health clinic and children's playground, and restructuring a community center.

"The positive spirit of the people and their resourcefulness and energy are very visible...I am hopeful for the future of Sierra Leone."

On his last day in the country, the messenger man of peace was taken on a tour of the site where weapons had been collected and burned as part of the post-war disarmament process conducted by the UN. Michael has been a strong advocate on disarmament issues (nuclear as well as small arms).

The film is one episode in a series entitled, "What's Going On?" produced by the United Nations Department of Public Information and RCN Entertainment.