A Syrian refugee, Hala Kamil, who’s family was featured in an Oscar-nominated short plans to attend the awards ceremony to spread a message about the Syrian refugees’ plight. The short documentary film, “Watani: My Homeland,” follows Kamil and her four children as they escape from Aleppo after her husband, Abu Ali Slaibeh, was captured by Islamic State militants in 2013. The film, directed by Marcel Mettelsiefen, documents the family’s journey to a Turkish refugee camp and later, Germany.
Kamil was originally unable to attend the Oscars ceremony due to Donald Trump’s travel ban, which is currently halted. Upon hearing the news that she can now go, Kamil wrote a statement in response. Kamil stated: “When I heard that I might have the opportunity of attending the Oscars to represent ‘Watani: My Homeland,’ I felt incredibly proud and happy but bittersweet.” Kamil said she and her husband used to enjoy the Academy Awards together: “Abu Ali and I would stay up late every year to watch the Oscars live on television. Sipping coffee together as we always did, we’d try to recall the names of all the famous actors and actresses as they graced the red carpet, in complete awe of this huge event.”
Kamil explained that she wants to use her time at the Oscars to help spread a message throughout the world about refugees, especially from Syria. Kamil wrote: “I want to tell the world about a small country called Syria, a country that has been burnt alive, its people torn up from the soil they once thrived on. All this destruction and displacement needs the concerted effort of the whole world working together, to help these people back to their roots, the roots they hold so dear. We need people to understand that we are not terrorists despite what the media and the politicians might say, all we are is human.”
You can read Kamil’s full statement here, and watch the moving trailer for “Watani: My Homeland” below.
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