“There is nothing beautiful if you are not here”. That's what Saudi blogger Raif Badawi told his family when they asked him how he was finding life when he was released after ten years in prison.
This sentence inspires me broke the heart. Like the two and a half hours of the documentary Waiting for Raif, which opens today.
For eight years, the cameras of directors Patricio Henriquez and Luc Côté have followed Ensaf Haidar, Raif's wife, from his move to Sherbrooke to his fight for the release of her husband.
But what is also heartbreaking is to see that Canada has continued to sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which flouts human rights. the person.
Shame on Canada
There is in the documentary Waiting for Raif unbearable images: a hidden camera filmed part of the flogging of Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1000 lashes for having criticized the Saudi regime.
We also see the seconds before a beheading, in this bloodthirsty dictatorship where executions take place in the public square.
After seeing these images, how can we understand that Canada continued to do business with Saudi Arabia as if nothing had happened? A journalist interviewed in the film recalls that the Canadian government went to court to prevent the disclosure of contracts for the sale of tanks, the largest military contract in Canadian history.
The documentary is very cleverly edited: on one side, we follow Ensaf Haidar who travels the planet to meet politicians and organizations by denouncing the detention of her husband and on the other, we see Canada making salamalecs in front of the Saudi regime!< /p>
You will exit viewing this documentary with:
1. much admiration for Ensaf Haidar and his resilience and…
2. a lot of anger against Justin Trudeau who multiplies the selfies but does not use his phone to call the Saudis.
I was upset by the strength of Ensaf who offers her husband support unwavering and who is often more confident than him. You will crack when Raif Badawi says to his wife: “You are too optimistic”.
It is an untold human tragedy: this brave man could not take his wife and children in his arms for ten years and he is not allowed to leave Saudi Arabia for the next ten years.
Seeing the timidity of the Canadian reaction to this scandal, one can only feel a sense of shame.
What struck me in this documentary was to see the three Badawi children growing up on screen (they were filmed for eight years) and to see these young new Quebecers expressing themselves in impeccable French.
We also see the vigils, every Friday, organized by Sherbrooke residents to demand the release of Raif Badawi. There were 376 Friday vigils: it's great solidarity!
This Quebec, welcoming with open arms a family of refugees and espousing its cause with benevolence, why don't we hear about it? speak more often?
Could it be because Ensaf Haidar regularly speaks out for secularism and against the veil?
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128