Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oscar Nominated Director from Palestine Detained at LAX

By Liza Foreman

It's not every day that a Palestinian film gets nominated for an Oscar. It is only days to go until the annual awards ceremony on Sunday in Los Angeles but Emad Burnat, the co-director of "Five Broken Cameras" almost didn't make it.

Herewith his statement upon being detained at LAX airport:

"Last night, on my way from Turkey to Los Angeles, CA, my family and I were held at US immigration for about an hour and questioned about the purpose of my visit to the United States. Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award® for the documentary 5 BROKEN CAMERAS and they told me that if I couldn't prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day.

"After 40 minutes of questions and answers, Gibreel asked me why we were still waiting in that small room. I simply told him the truth: 'Maybe we'll have to go back.' I could see his heart sink.

"Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout he West Bank. There are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to movement across our land, and not a single one of us has been spared the experience that my family and I experienced yesterday. Ours was a very minor example of what my people face every day."

-- Emad Burnat, Co-Director of 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

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