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Arab Students Organization brings film director to campus to highlight Syrian conflict

The UNC Arab Students Organization holds a Q&A with director Sam Kadi (center)  after a screening of the film  “Little Gandhi” in the Student Union auditorium on Wednesday night.

The UNC Arab Students Organization holds a Q&A with director Sam Kadi (center) after a screening of the film “Little Gandhi” in the Student Union auditorium on Wednesday night.

The organization’s treasurer, first-year Samia Daghestani, reached out to Kadi to bring the film to UNC.

“I came across the ‘Little Gandhi’ movie screening and heard that it was happening through the Syrian American Council and they were streaming the ‘Little Gandhi’ movie across university campuses and I talked to my friend who was the president of the Arab Students Organization and I told her this would be something really interesting to bring to campus,” she said.

Dagahestani, a Syrian-American, said growing up, she and her sisters always knew they were Syrian, learned Arabic and ate Arabic food. When the Arab Spring began in 2011, her family watched anxiously as the conflict unfolded thousands of miles from their home.

“As Syrians, we held our hearts in our hands hoping that Syria would come next and the forty years of the brutal dictatorial Assad regime that had exiled both of my parents from the country, that people would rise against him,” she said.

“Bringing this movie to campus, yes I am a Syrian-American, but it’s not about that anymore. The crisis in Syria is now an issue of my humanity and so bringing this movie is helping to spread awareness about this issue and letting people know about the roots of the uprising is just so important.”

Junior and UNC Arab Students Organization Vice President Nur Massry said, especially with the chemical attacks that have been going on this week in Syria, it is more necessary to have this screening on campus.

“A lot of people know about the Syrian War but are so detached from it, so having this screening will allow students to see what sparked the civil war and give students a chance to interact with the director that was able to show all the nitty gritty stuff that’s happening over there,” she said. “It’s definitely current, it’s definitely something that’s going on right now and is even more relevant this week than any other week.”

The $1,500 honorarium required to screen the movie and the costs to fly in the director were funded through the Arab Students Organization, the Global Studies and Peace, War and Defense programs and other campus sponsors.

Senior and Arab Students Organization President Khadiga Konsouh said she wants people to walk away knowing what’s going on and wanting to do something or change something about it.

“The number one thing I hope students take away from watching this is the pressing humanitarian crisis of our generation, which is the Syrian crisis. This is really about doing those action items and calling your congressmen (and) representatives and urge them to take action on what’s going on and not just stay silent on it,” she said.

“Instead of just having people know the Syrian Revolution is going on, we want people to really feel it and have that actually in a way, impact you, as it is impacting several millions of people who are affected by it every day.”

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