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Borneo Bulletin, Tuesday 28 February 2017

Page 9

Oscar-winning

Syrian rescue

group says award

is inspiration

BEIRUT (AP) — The head of the

Syrian search-and-rescue group

featured in the harrowing Oscar-

winningNetflixdocumentary‘The

White Helmets’ said on Monday

he hopes the award will serve as

an inspiration his volunteers to

keep up their mission in the war-

torn country.

Raed Saleh of the Syrian Civil

Defense — popularly known as

White Helmets — also appealed

on governments around the

world “to stop the bloodshed of

the Syrian people”.

Speaking in a video recorded in

southern Turkey, he quoted from

the Quran: “Whoever saves a life

— it is as if he has saved mankind

entirely.”

The Oscar for the best

documentary short “will inspire

our volunteers with the moral

support to continue rescuing

civilians in Syria,” Saleh said.

The film focuses on Syrian

first-responders, rescue workers

who risk their lives to save Syrians

affected by the civil war, now in

its sixth year.

The film often captures the

highly dangerous moments when

the White Helmets arrive at the

scene of an airstrike, which may

be imminently bombed for a

second time in a so-called “double

tap” attacks.

Many of the group’s members

have been killed by Syrian

President Bashar Assad’s war

planes.

The

volunteers’

struggle

to reach those bombed in the

rebel enclave of eastern Aleppo,

just before the city completely

fell to the government forces

in December, was especially

poignant. The group also was

nominated for last year’s Nobel

Peace Prize.

The White Helmets did not

have a representative at the

Los Angeles Oscars ceremony

after US immigration authorities

barred entry to a 21-year-

old Syrian cinematographer

who

worked

on

the

film.

Director Orlando von Einsiedel

and producer Joanna Natasegara

accepted the Oscar, but devoted

most of their short time on stage

to sharing a statement from the

absent Khaled Khateeb.

“We’re so grateful that this film

has highlighted our work to the

GENEVA (AP) — Palestinian President

Mahmoud Abbas on Monday urged

the international community to

protect the two-state solution, in

a message aimed at Israel and the

new US administration of President

Donald Trump.

At a White House meeting earlier

this month, both Trump and the

Israeli prime minister, Benjamin

Netanyahu, appeared to back away

from the internationally supported

idea of the establishment of an

independent Palestine alongside

Israel.

In an address to the United

Nations Human Rights Council in

Geneva, Abbas called on states that

believe in two states “to come to

the defense of that solution” and

recognise the state of Palestine.

“This solution must be protected

from any attempt to withdraw from

it or simply disregard it,” he said.

The international community,

including the US, has long supported

the idea of a two-state solution

as the best way to create peace

between Israel and the Palestinians.

In January, dozens of countries

reiterated their support for this

goal at an international conference

in France, days before Trump took

office.

But at a joint press conference

with Trump on Feb. 15, Netanyahu

made no mention of the two-state

solution. Instead, he talked of

searching for “new ways” forward,

including a regional approach

involving other Arab countries.

Trump, meanwhile, said he could

favor any agreement between the

parties, including a single Israeli-

Palestinian state, a solution that

neither side favours. He also referred

to a “much bigger deal” involving

“many countries”.

Palestinian president urges

protection of two-state solution

FilephotoshowsformerPresidentBarackObamawithPalestinianPresident

Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Of ice at the White House in Washington

AP

Syriancivil defence volunteers, known as theWhiteHelmets, look for survivors amidst thedebris following

reported government airstrike on the Syrian town of Ariha

AFP

world,” said the statement, read

by von Einsiedel.

Khateb told The Associated

Press on Monday from Turkey

that though he said he had

expected the documentary to

win, he didn’t sleep all night but

smoked shisha with friends and

watching the ceremony.

“It is a media prize, it’s not a

political prize ... But still it sheds

light on the tragedy of the Syrian

people.

“Maybe it will help stop some

of the massacres,” he added. “It is

a strong movie.”

Khateeb was scheduled to

arrive on Saturday in Los Angeles

on a Turkish Airlines flight

departing from Istanbul.

His plans were upended after

US officials reported finding

“derogatory

information”

regarding Khateeb.

According to internal Trump

administration correspondence

seen by The Associated Press,

the Department of Homeland

Security decided at the last

minute to block him from

travelling to Los Angeles for the

Oscars.

“I tried and it didn’t work,”

Khateeb said of his hopes to

attend the ceremony. “It is

America’s loss!”