- Hala’s husband Abu Ali joined the Free Syrian Army when the flames of war reached their neighbourhood. His family refused to leave him behind and stayed by his side despite the grave dangers they faced.
- Abu Ali was later captured by ISIL in 2014. Hala decided that she could no longer risk her children’s lives and futures in the city after losing Abu Ali and sought asylum in Germany where the family currently resides.
- World Humanitarian Day, the family from Aleppo arrived at United Nations headquarters in New York on the 18th of August, ready to tell their story and represent the millions of people like them.
- In an interview with UNifeed, Hala said her message to world leaders was to reflect on their own conscience and put themselves in the place of those suffering from war. She stressed anyone that could “imagine seeing their child torn to pieces right in front of them” should now act.
The family attended an event at the UN headquarters to raise awareness on the millions of families like them affected by humanitarian crises. The event featured excerpts of the film which was recorded over the course of three years. Director Marcel Mettelsiefen said he chose the name ‘Watani, My Homeland’ because it was a story of a family who was ready to “sacrifice basically everything for a country.”
- He said the family then felt betrayed by their country because “a revolution, something they started, something they believed in, had been hijacked by somebody else.”
- Hala said if she knew what she knows now she would be “the first person to stand against and stop the revolution.”
- She said Aleppo was everything to her and her family despite all the destruction the city had seen. Hala said she would live “on top of the rubble” and be comfortable as long as she knew there were no jets “bombing me while I’m on the rocks.”
She said the world had “lost its humanity and conscience” and society was no longer ruled by laws. She said “once you eliminate the law of humanity there is no other law that supersedes it.”
- The UN estimates some 130 million people worldwide are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- The Syrian conflict alone has claimed approximately 400,000 lives and generated over 4.8 million refugees in neighboring countries, not including the hundreds of thousands who have fled to Europe.
- The UN refugee agency predicts that 8.7 million Syrians would be internally displaced in 2016. The total population of Syria before the war erupted five years ago was 20 million.