Hala Kamil, Syrian refugee featured in documentary short ‘Watani: My Homeland,’ will attend Oscars

Donald Trump‘s recent immigration ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries, which has since been overturned by the courts, already called into question whether Asghar Farhadi, the director of Iran’s Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film “The Salesman,” would be able to attend the ceremony, but he wasn’t the only Oscar player affected. But there’s good news: Hala Kamil, the Syrian subject of nominated documentary short “Watani: My Homeland,” is confirmed to attend the Oscars.

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Kamil’s husband, Abu Ali, was kidnapped by ISIS in 2013 and has sadly not been seen since. She and her family were subsequently relocated to Germany, though they are still Syrian citizens. Syria was one of the countries targeted by Trump’s Muslim ban, but she has received a visa to attend the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, February 26.

Says Kamil in a statement, “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 my 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.”

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