Hala Kamil, the subject of the Oscar-nominated doc short “Watani: My Homeland,” will be able to attend the Oscars, according to a statement released today. Kamil, who is Syrian, was unsure if she’d be allowed to attend following the president’s immigration and travel ban, which included an indefinite ban on Syria. Following the recent restraining order passed on the ban by a U.S. district judge, Kamil learned she’d be allowed into the country for the Oscars. Unlike director Asghar Farhadi from Best Foreign Language Film nominee “The Salesman,” who said he would refuse to attend even if allowed, Kamil is choosing to attend. She explains her choice in her written statement.
See Kamil’s full statement below:
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. The first thing that came to me mind was my husband and soul mate. 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.
To think that over three years after I last saw my husband, I’ll be traveling to that same ceremony we watched together, brings tears to my eye. But to be reminded of what I have lost is also a reminder of what I have held on to; my four children.”
It’s also a reminder of what keeps me strong, and what drives me to speak up for beloved homeland and its people.
Traveling to the United States is a very important step forward for me, to have the opportunity to reach so many people with my message of peace, unity and understanding is so invaluable, and I’m so grateful to have this chance.
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. All these people want is peace and the right to live.
Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter for the full statement.