By Robert K. Stephen
(WINDSOR, ON) – Suicide bombers. Murdering innocent civilians is very bad but what can 800,000 orphans of these innocents expect in Iraq? Not much unless they are rescued from a corrupt and uncaring state orphanage system. How can any but the most corrupt value systems glorify these martyr suicide bombers? If there is a heaven, these martyrs should be sent back to Jail without passing “Go”. The bloody bodies are carted off. If there are children that survive the blast they are cast into a vicious Iraqi state orphanage system where they suffer horrific abuses of all sorts. If only the murderers of their parents could see what terror and havoc they have wreaked on the next generation surely they would know they are going to hell.
The film “In My Mother’s Arms” which was part of the 2011 TIFF, and only now experiencing a commercial release in Canada, is both a spiritually uplifting and an incredibly depressing film that documents Mr. Husham’s attempt to rescue and salvage some 32 orphans in Baghdad.
In the most poignant scene of the movie a distraught shop owner laments about the orphans of Iraq. “Neither God nor Mohammed would stand for this,” he says.
There are a range of orphans some with hope and aspirations and some like Saif that are lost, frightened and vacant. Mr. Husham houses the children in a rented home with several caregivers and a limited budget.
Sadly this decent and caring man who saves beggar children from the street must go begging for funds from private donors. There is an unwillingness of the Iraqi government to fund. Mr. Husham is not shy about telling the camera to stop filming the agonizing stories of the orphans.
The landlord gives two weeks’ notice of eviction as the home for the orphans will be sold.Mr. Husham goes on a desperate search for funds. Stiffed by the United Nations, eventually a Sunni Muslim organization comes up with the funds for one more year.
Mr. Husham has made a difference despite the lecture by a local psychiatrist that he has failed these orphans because all that he is doing is giving them shelter and feeding them and that he must create a family environment to really make a difference. If this pompous ass heard the children’s stories of the abuse in the Iraqi state orphanages he would be ashamed of his idiocy.
The film is a bit disjointed, raw and sloppy but makes you think, as opposed to mindlessly entertaining you. Intelligent filmmaking for intelligent people.
(In My Mother’s Arms, Directors Mohamed al-Daradji and Atla al-Daradji, Iraq/Netherlands/UK/UAE, 2011, 86 minutes, English subtitles)