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Watu Wote (All of Us)

Genre: Drama, Civil History

Starring:  Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahad Ahmed

This Kenyan movie based on the true story of the 2015 terrorist attack in northern Kenya, is one of the five shortlisted films in the live action category of the 2018 Oscar.

It is symbolic of the dangerous socially divided times we live in. The film portrays the attack by Islamic militants on a Nairobi bound bus in Mandera, near the Kenya-Somali border on November 22, 2014. The high point of the drama is a group of Kenyan Muslims who chose to stand by their Christian passengers.

For more than a decade Kenya has been a hotspot for home-grown Islamic terrorism. An atmosphere of hatred and mistrust between Muslims and Christians had taken over the country. However, the events of 2015 became a revelation that the communities wanted peace and solidarity, and were not in tune with the ideology of the Islamic extremist groups. The name of the film “Watu Wote”, meaning “all of us” in Kiswahili, is a message that both communities can live together in harmony.

Members of the Christian community were going home for their Christmas holidays, when an Islamist militia group al-Shabab attacked the bus. They were only after the Christian passengers, not the Muslims. More than 28 non-Muslims were executed at point-blank range. The Muslim passengers refused the terrorists’ demand that they identify the Christians amongst them, and despite being threatened with their lives, protected their fellow passengers, even handing them Islamic religious attire to prevent identification and death. Although, a short 22-minute film, it is well made and a potential award winner at this year’s Oscars.