Civil war & PTSD in Sierra Leone

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The Flying Stars is about an amputee soccer team in Sierra Leone, but the film really profiles survivors of the bitter civil war that gripped Sierra Leone from 1991-2002. The war never completely left team captain Bornor (above), midfielder Census and their teammates on The Flying Stars. The nightmares and other symptoms that continue to haunt them is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  In this documentary, Bornor and his teammates cope by playing soccer.

The outer world largely ignored the civil war which ravaged Sierra Leone, a poor west African nation. The Flying Stars does not trace the causes or developments of this war, but the conflict boiled down to a toxic combination of poverty, corruption and rich diamond deposits that invading forces from Liberia ruthlessly sought.

The war was infamous for brainwashing innocent children into being soldiers who in turn amputated other children.  In the end, over 50,000 people died in the civil war and  thousands more were amputated.

Unfortunately today, there is no organized counselling for PTSD in Sierra Leone. The country is still rebuilding its health system and infrastructure. Few sufferers of PTSD are even aware they are wrestling with this trauma.

The filmmakers hope that The Flying Stars sheds much-needed light on this urgent matter.

Click here to read more about PTSD

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    photo by Johnny Vong