Watu Wote

So, is there much hope left for us? I suppose realizing lofty ideals like “world peace” and “equality” are why we make films and why we watch them. They serve as little reminders that maybe we’re on the right track or maybe we can strive to be better people.

Katja Bentrah’s short film, Watu Wote (All of us), is based on a true story about an anonymous bus trip in Kenya. For over a decade, anxiety and tension between Kenyan Muslims and Christians reached new highs with the formation of the terrorist group, Al-Shabaab.

“Jua is passed a hijab to disguise herself as Muslim…”

Jua (Adelyne Wairimu) boards a bus heading north to care for her sick mother. She is the only Christian on a crowded Muslim bus. During a rest stop, Jua is approached by fellow passenger Salah Farah (Abdiwali Farrah). Jua and Salah’s conversation is short and curt as we find out that Jua’s husband and child were murdered in a terror attack months before.

Down the road, the bus is stopped by soldiers of Al-Shabaab, who remove the passengers looking for the Christians. Jua is passed a hijab to disguise herself as Muslim as the men on the bus are confronted by the armed mob’s leader, Hassan (Fasal Ahrmed).

“…an inspirational story of solidarity based not on identity, race, or religion…”

While we live in this Western bubble and turn to social media to be heard, we forget that there is a world where identity politics is a matter of life and death. Watu Wote is an inspirational story of solidarity based not on identity, race, or religion, but by the undeniable fact that we’re all human beings.

The short is a simple story in that it is a retelling of a true story from December 2015. It shines a light on the bravery to stand against evil and the consequences of risking one’s life for the goal of peace.

Watu Wote (2017) Directed by Katja Bentrah. Written by Julia Drache. Starring Adelyne Wairimu, Barkhad Abdirahman, Fasal Ahrmed and Abdiwali Farrah. Watu Wote is nominated for best Short Film (Live Action) at the 2018 Academy Awards.

4 out of 5 stars

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