She has never backed down – taking in boy soldiers and forcing them to trade their weapons for bedpans and work in the hospital- forcing armed militia off her land. She has two rules for anyone seeking refuge with her: no clans, and no wife beating. She and her daughters have created a remarkable, peaceful mini-society within a war zone – and it’s become home to 90,000 people (read more).
When we made Devil’s Bargain in 2007 we focussed on the Horn of Africa and the small arms trade that was keeping Somalia in a state of perpetual violence and instability. The outside world had essentially written off Somalia as a failed state, and its problems were spreading across the region: guns, violence and rape know no borders, and were destabilizing once peaceful communities in Kenya and beyond. The world’s biggest refugee camp, Dadaab, on the Kenya-Somali border was overflowing with new refugees and even more depressing – refugees who had lived there for 16 years. I can only imagine how the already overburdened CARE Canada staff that run the camp are managing to deal with 500,000 more starving refugees. I hope to make a film about Dr. Hawa, to show the world that there is hope despite what seems like insurmountable conflict, and it can be found in the actions of a tiny woman who still believes in, and fights for her people.
IN THE NAME OF THE FAMILY - the story doesn't end
I recently received a message from a journalist in Rochester, New York telling me that a teenage girl was in critical condition after being stabbed multiple times. I experienced a sensation best described as deja vu. The 13 -year -old girl had been found in the garage by her mother and rushed to hospital, where she remains. Her name is Samina Qasam. Her 16 - year - old cousin Faheem Abdul Jaheel has been charged with attempted murder. The family are from Afghanistan and speak little English, but Faheem has entered a self-defense plea. He is currently being held in Monroe County Jail, awaiting a September hearing.