Slahi does not want to relive the worst moments of his captivity and therefore has avoided seeing the most traumatic scenes of the film. But now that his book has become a major feature film, he believes it is a clear example that the pen is more powerful than the sword. “I don’t believe in violence, but my whole story was violence against my body, my innocence, the members of my family and I never did anything to the United States,” he says. “My film is a victory for non-violence, it is a victory for the pen.”
The fact is, however, that while many feature films, documentaries, television shows, books, and news reports have shown the reality of the prison camp, it still remains open. The Obama administration promised to shut it down and failed. Now President Biden has said he aims to shut it down before his first term ends. So, with a new president in the Oval Office, could The Mauritanian be the Guantanamo Bay movie that heralds the end of the detention center?
Rahim wants audiences to take the message of “hope and forgiveness above anger,” while Eviatar says “any film depicting the tragedy at Guantanamo, the unfair and often messy way many men ended up there and therefore, they pressured the United States government to close it, it is doing a great service. “
Slahi, who continues to be denied entry to the US and UK five years after his release from Guantanamo Bay without compensation or apology, hopes the film will show the Western world that he is an innocent man and that negative perceptions of the Middle East and North African citizens must end.
“I want people to know my side of the story [and] I am honored that it became such a great movie, “he says.” I don’t have weapons, I don’t have the police. I don’t have drones to get people out but I have my words and I want to debate negative exceptionalism [towards] the Arab world and Africa. We cannot be kidnapped; we cannot be tortured. “
The Mauritian is in select theaters in the US and will be available on demand there starting March 2. It will launch in the UK on April 1.
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