5 Broken Cameras Director Emad Burnat’s Statement on His LAX Detention

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If you follow Michael Moore on Twitter, you’ll be aware that 5 Broken Cameras’ Palestinian director Emad Burnat was detained by immigration officers on his arrival at LAX airport. Burnat is in Los Angeles for Sunday’s Academy Awards, where the film he made with Israeli director Guy Davidi is nominated for Best Documentary.

In response to this incident, Burnat just released the following statement through the film’s distributor, Kino Lorber:

Last night, on my way from Turkey to Los Angeles, CA, my family and I were held at US immigration for about an hour and questioned about the purpose of my visit to the United States. Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award® for the documentary 5 Broken Cameras and they told me that if I couldn’t prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day.

After 40 minutes of questions and answers, Gibreel asked me why we were still waiting in that small room. I simply told him the truth: ‘Maybe we’ll have to go back.’ I could see his heart sink.

Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank. There are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to movement across our land, and not a single one of us has been spared the experience that my family and I experienced yesterday. Ours was a very minor example of what my people face every day.

— Emad Burnat, Co-Director of  5 Broken Cameras