The fall of President Ben Ali during the revolution in Tunisia triggered a wave of uprising in the Middle East leading to what became the Arab spring. However, not all the public aspirations for peaceful resolutions to their long-standing dictatorships have come to fruition.
We Are The Giant documents the bravery of six activists challenging oppression in the Middle East that followed this Jasmine Revolution.
American-raised, Muhanned is seen through the eyes of his father as he describes his son’s determination to leave his comfortable life in the US behind while defending freedom in Libya to the death.
Ghassan and Motaz remain committed to peaceful protest in Syria, despite the militarisation of what started as a flower waving revolution.
Maryam and her sister Zainab in Bahrain continue to advocate for peaceful resistance and stop an advancing barrage of police by handing them flowers.
Right from the beginning of the protests authorities respond with totalitarian style violence, arbitrarily shooting protesters with the expectation they will run and hide in abject terror. But once that line is crossed there is no going back. People set aside their fear, taking to the streets in droves demanding freedom.
Social media and mobile technology had a big hand in spreading the call to action and the film uses this to great effect with copious amounts of mobile phone content shot in the mayhem of the front line.
In Libya we see protests against Gadaffi quickly turn into a revolution and soon into a rebel war.
In Syria a little girl sings to camera during a peaceful demonstration, the scene suddenly shattering with a rocket blast.
People dance in a circle trying to hold onto peaceful protest, but suddenly the entire city block is flattened by a direct hit.
These harrowing scenes are only tempered by the resilience of the people’s faith that change will come if they can stand together as an instrument of peace.
Zainab says, “This is the essence of peaceful resistance, to put the other side to shame. To show them that what they are doing is so wrong that even they couldn’t be convinced.”
But We Are The Giant is not just about the moral challenges protesters face in the Arab states. The human spirit will lay down its life to protect freedom in the face of abject terror and insurmountable odds.
Meanwhile, Western governments stand by, ignoring pleas for help while content to do big business.
However, creative use of archive footage of similar movements across the globe demonstrates that history repeats itself. Corrupt oppressors topple worldwide and so do the structures that continue to support them.
Director Greg Baker expertly weaves this patchwork of history together and brings to life this happening en-masse. Oppression inevitably becomes an insignificant force with which to control the populace, The Giant.
‘We Are The Giant’
Director: Greg Baker
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Release date: Nov. 14 (UK)
5 stars out of 5