With her heart-stopping footage from the last hospital in east Aleppo, which dominated news platforms, and her multi-award-winning film For Sama, Waad al-Kateab told us the story of the Syrian war through the eyes of a new mother. She told a story whose heroes are ordinary people risking everything to live free from tyranny: doctors working under fire to save others, teachers educating children in underground classrooms as bombs rain down outside. A story of extreme brutality but also of endless hope.
In a year when film awards were, once again, criticized for their lack of diversity, it was incredible to see Waad, a Muslim refugee woman, walk the red carpet at the Oscars alongside her young daughter, wearing a gown embroidered with a poem in Arabic that read, “We dared to dream and we will not regret dignity.”
I am in awe of her refusal to give up that dream.
Ahmed is an Emmy Award–winning actor