Oscars-bound Palestinian film-maker describes ‘unpleasant’ LAX detention

The Guardian reports: An Academy-nominated Palestinian film-maker has spoken of the “unpleasant experience” of being detained by US immigration officials when he arrived for this weekend’s Oscars ceremony.

Emad Burnat said that he was held for about an hour at Los Angeles airport on Tuesday, along with his wife and youngest son Gibreel, who plays a central role in Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras.

Burnat said that he thought that US immigration officials – who apparently doubted his credentials – would send him back to Palestine. He compared the incident to daily life for Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.

“Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award for 5 Broken Cameras, and they told me that if I couldn’t prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day,” Burnat said in a statement.

“After 40 minutes of questions and answers, Gibreel asked me why we were still waiting in that small room. I simply told him the truth: ‘Maybe we’ll have to go back.’ I could see his heart sink.”

Five Broken Cameras chronicles the events surrounding Israel’s creation of a separation wall in Burnat’s West Bank village of Bil’in. Burnat, a farmer, initially bought the camera to capture Gibreel’s development before using footage for the documentary.

Burnat said his experience was “a very minor example of what my people face every day.”

Although it’s ironic that a possible recipient of America’s most celebrated cultural honor would get this kind of reception, what most Americans do not understand is that every foreigner entering this country is treated as a criminal suspect. Every noncitizen visitor is fingerprinted and this along with other biometric data is kept by the Department of Homeland Security for 75 years. Welcome to America.

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1 thought on “Oscars-bound Palestinian film-maker describes ‘unpleasant’ LAX detention

  1. Norman

    Welcome to America indeed. It used to be a peaceful happy experience, but now is close to a bad dream. Out of all the millions of people searched, how many terrorists have been caught? This theater of the “Boogieman” is under every face, well, at least it gives some people employment.

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