We Are The Giant
Frontline tales from the Arab Spring brought together by director Greg Barker
A small girl sings a song of hope and freedom in the street, just as an explosion wreaks havoc around her. A peace activist interrupts a downbeat interview about whether nonviolent protest has been unsuccessful when a shell rocks the street outside. And a government-launched missile splits the sky open as it lands on a community of street protestors.
While We Are The Giant is by and large an uplifting documentary about the mobilisation of public opinion during the Arab Spring movements within Libya, Bahrain and Syria, as the aforementioned shattering moments suggest, it’s also a tale of despair and hopelessness in the face of the military might of despotic states. The question posed throughout this film is whether there comes a time in every peaceful campaign that some form of armed struggle becomes almost inevitable.
In Libya, we hear from a father whose American-born and raised son returned to his homeland where he fought and died at the hands of Gaddafi’s soldiers; in Syria we meet stridently nonviolent activists whose patience wears thin in the face of Assad and his army’s callous acts. Arguably the most affecting story is the last, with the two sisters who have campaigned tirelessly against Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa family, and whose civil rights activist father is the victim of the most horrendous torture and violation: his crime was simply seeking peaceful change.
Greg Barker’s documentary wouldn’t have been possible without the bravery of those offering first person accounts as well as those operating the cameras, which provide some extraordinary and truly shocking footage from the ground, as brutal acts are unleashed in order to break the people’s will. The film doesn’t analyse the less savoury by-products which have risen up during the Arab Spring, instead it single-mindedly sticks to its chief purpose: showing how good people can be forced to the brink by the bloodthirsty actions of unscrupulous tyrants.
Limited release from Fri 14 Nov.