DEATH OF TWO SONS
Seattle Premiere - On Feb. 4, 1999, four New York City Police officers killed African immigrant Amadou Diallo on his own doorstep in a hail of 41 bullets. The inhumanity of Amadou's death outraged African-Americans, so often the victims of such violence themselves, and people of all ethnicities took to the streets in protest.
And yet, despite all the publicity, how many of those marching in Diallo's name could tell you what his native language was or place Guinea on a map? Jesse Thyne knew Amadou's history better than any other American. An exuberant Peace Corps volunteer from Pasadena, CA, Jesse was assigned to Amadou's home village in Guinea, West Africa. He'd been "adopted" by members of Amadou's family and lived in their house. While Amadou sold hats and gloves on a New York City street corner to save money for college, Jesse was learning to speak the local language and teaching Guinean children math. When Amadou died, people in Guinea turned to Jesse for an explanation. Jesse was present at Amadou's funeral, where he sat with the Diallo family and served as a translator for American journalists.
In January of 2000, almost a year to date after Amadou's death, Jesse was killed in a brutal car accident on a Guinean highway. The taxi driver responsible for Jesse's death spent three years in a Guinean prison - a harsher-than-usual punishment. Amadou's killers walked free. Jesse's death, like Amadou's, was used as a rallying cry against endemic problems. While thousands of Americans protested Amadou's death, thousands of Guineans came together to march for road safety awareness in a country notorious for reckless driving. Like Amadou, Jesse was repatriated to his home soil for burial. Both families had premonitions and dreams foreshadowing the deaths of their sons, and both deaths had a profound spiritual impact on their nation's religious communities.
Beyond examining the broad societal aspects of these events, the film leads us to a very personal truth: that the loss of any human life is equally tragic. Death of Two Sons shows the common humanity shared by these young men, their families, and their nations.
104 17th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144
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