Donald Trump Couldn't Silence This Syrian Oscar Winner

Feb 28, 2017, 00:10
Donald Trump Couldn't Silence This Syrian Oscar Winner

"The White Helmets", directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, bagged an Oscar on Sunday for the best short documentary.

Khateeb had been scheduled to fly from Istanbul to Los Angeles on Saturday, but Turkish authorities reportedly detained him earlier this week, according to the AP.

However, the Department of Homeland Security blocked Khateeb from entering the United States, citing "derogatory information" about the cinematographer - a vague term that could be applied to everything from terrorist threats to a passport irregularity. Khateeb had obtained a visa to enter the United States, but had been detained earlier this week in Turkey for unknown reasons.

The film focuses on Syrian first-responders who risk their lives to save people from the civil war, now in its sixth year.

But before leaving Istanbul, his plans were upended after he was detained by Turkish officials who said that USA officials reported that they had found "derogatory information" about him.

However, in a statement, the White Helmets said that Saleh would not be able to leave his work because of the high intensity of airstrikes, while Khatib could not attend because the Syrian government had cancelled his passport.

The group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. The White Helmets also features heroes putting their lives on the line to protect others, but instead of militias and poachers, they face a steady onslaught of bombs in a seemingly never-ending civil war.

"I do this work because I believe if the world understands the suffering of my people, they will be moved to stop it, to stand with us on the side of life", he said.

Khatib, aside from carrying a camera for the film, is a White Helmet himself. "I look forward to meeting them all one day".

Although the ban was lifted by a federal judge, Farhadi, whose movie The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, said he would still be boycotting the event.

And in a almost unprecedented move, the five directors whose films are nominated for Best Foreign Picture penned a joint letter released on Friday, February 24, expressing "unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the USA and in so many other countries".

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