A VERY FRAGILE THING
What happens when we choose to define ourselves according to our differences? "A Very Fragile Thing" offers a cautionary tale for any society wracked with distrust and division via a first-person journey into the origins of a civil war that has claimed the
lives of half a million Ethiopians since 2020.
This 14-minute documentary follows Berhanu Nega, an Ethiopian-American peacemaker whose life story traces the origins of a conflict he tried but failed to prevent. As the situation in Ethiopia worsens, Berhanu travels to Washington, D.C., where he hears from a former believer in democracy who has come to see violence as the only way forward. Berhanuís response unfolds against the remnants of the original U.S. Capitol building and the battlefields of the American Civil War, speaking to the possibility of peace, no matter how deep the cracks in our foundations may seem.
My name is Selah Eshetu, and I am the co-director of ďA Very Fragile Thing." While working on this project, I was forced to flee my country amid violence against my family in the midst of an underreported civil war. Our film is not my personal story. It is the story of democracies everywhere facing a crisis of misinformation, distrust, and deepening division. It is a story that sheds light on what can happen when polarization and old wounds overcome faith in our basic goodness as a people. It is the story of a fellow exile, Berhanu Nega, an Ethiopian-American social justice leader who foresaw our current conflict yet failed to prevent the war. It is our team's hope that this short film will be a bridge to Ethiopians, Americans, and audiences everywhere who seek new perspectives amid the rise of uncertainty and violence worldwide.