baconhampalace9 karma2012-08-26 17:51:57 UTC
I'm still a bit skeptical about this post, but I'll give the OP the benefit of the doubt.
That said, I have misgivings about the efficacy of this approach. Religious persecution does occur in North Africa, although nowhere near the scale that it does in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International has documented it and I've heard of it anecdotally in my own travels in the Middle East. Your money may have helped these individuals escape from their countries. During my time in Syria and Iran I myself provided people with assistance (filing papers, making phone calls) to people wishing to leave. But the overwhelming reality is that life as an 'apostate' or religious minority, a LGBT person, or even a woman or low-income Muslim in the Middle East is just plain hard. When you're engaged with someone face to face in their home country and you see thousands of others facing the same difficulties it becomes apparent (at least to me) that your best bet is to contribute your time and effort to a local organization that is working for change. It doesn't give you the self-righteous thrill of thinking you've helped some downtrodden Middle Easterner reach the promised land, but it will provide support to an organization that is on the ground helping to change the country from within.
TL;DR Don't try to be a hero. Get informed and support people on the ground engaged in their own fight.
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baconhampalace7 karma2013-11-07 19:02:07 UTC
Mr. Sayles! I hope I didn't miss this, but I just wanted to commend you for producing a body of work that is at once artistically accomplished a politically astute. You're a beacon of progressive politics in an otherwise wishy-washy world of American cinema. Also, I tried to go to Matewan (and the town Matewan was filmed in) this summer all the way from Canada. Didn't quite make it, but became fascinated and well read about mining labour struggles.
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