A Syrian nominee was just denied entry to the US on the eve of the Oscars
Syrian rescue workers of the defense group the White Helmets will miss the Oscars, and the news is heartbreaking. The team is nominated in the short subject documentary category for their film, White Helments, which highlights their daily lives as they rescue Syrians affected by the six year war.
The group’s leader and doctor, Raed Saleh, and the film’s cameraman, Khaled Khatib, announced yesterday that neither will be able to travel to the U.S. for the event. But, for two different reasons. Saleh made the decision not to travel in order to continue his work in Syria, and Khatib’s passport was denied travel by the Syrian government.
Both Saleh and Khatib have U.S. visas specifically to attend the Oscars, but that didn’t matter in their circumstances.
Khatib issued a statement via their Twitter page Saturday explaining the fiasco, and it’s equal parts noble and upsetting.
And moments later, Khatib tweeted an update on his individual travel situation.
Khatib’s denial to travel could be linked to the government’s accusations of the White Helmets faking airstrike footage for propaganda purposes. And of course, that’s something that the rescuers completely refute.
If the White Helmets take home the award, it will be accepted by the film’s director, Orlando von Einsiedel, and producer Joanna Natasegara. We very much wish the whole team could be there to experience the Oscars and the praise their amazing documentary deserves.