Unicef IIT Movie Night - "The White Helmets"

Sat, 2017/09/30

On Thursday, September 21, UNICEF, IIT chapter, invited students to a movie night in Wishnick Hall, around 8 p.m. to 10 p.m to sensitize us on the situation of Syria. UNICEF IIT presented an Oscar winning documentary - “The White Helmets.” Here is an overview of the movie.

This movie shows us a little glimpse of a day when Syrians risk their lives to save other people who are living in a state of war. The cinematographic effects here are organic. We are brought into the movie, witnessing daily air strikes that target Syrians. Witnesses are not left in despair, as a group of benevolent first-responders (who are referred to as ‘white helmets’) risk their lives to save victims from the rubble. We see various rescues. But, we have like context on how they are treated, since the hospitals are crumbled.

“The White Helmets” connects us with the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria. Khaleed Khateed, a volunteer for the Syria Civil Defense forces, filmed rescue missions of people stuck in the crossfire of the civil war and posted them on YouTube. Following this, filmmaker Orlando Van Einsiedel got in touch with Khateeb, provided him with training, equipped him with a better camera, and encouraged him to keep filming. A heart-wrenching moment was when the white-helmet volunteer rescued a one-month-old baby from the rubble. As the movie progresses, we see unjustified massacres that would sadden one’s heart or anger one’s mind.

The film offers no solutions; it just informs us of the ongoing plight of people whose human rights are violated. UNICEF IIT encouraged its attendees to share ideas on what can be done to help these civilians. Illinois Tech students suggested donating basic items to Syria that can be consumed. However, Erica Cusnariov explained that it is better to donate money that is directly channeled to Syrians, for life-saving aid, through UNICEF. Cusnariov strongly urges us to watch the movie, which is a short version of the massacre of Syria. “There is much more behind the scenes!”

Hence, the executive members will be running a table on the MTCC bridge, and they call on your generosity. At the conclusion of the movie,  one of the men says, “Still, there’s a little bit of hope here in a seemingly hopeless conflict.” “To save a life is to save all humanity.” If you have any suggestions you may contact UNICEF IIT through their email: unicefiit@iit.edu.