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Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd 2015


Distributed by National Film Board of Canada, 1123 Broadway, Suite 307, New York, NY 10010; 800-542-2164
Produced by Patricio Henríquez; Loumède, Colette; Macumba International
Directed by Patricio Henríquez
Streaming, color, 88 min.

High School - General Adult
Civil Rights, China, Human Rights, Cuba, Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, Sociology

Date Entered: 02/06/2017

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

This film tells the story of 22 Uyghur (Turkic-speaking Muslims from China) men who were captured in Afghanistan, sent to the prison at the United States’ Guantanamo Bay military installation, and when finally determined to not be a threat, were in a legal “limbo” for years while attempts were made to find countries which would take them in. They could not go back to China, nor Afghanistan, and nobody really seemed to want the Uyghurs’ presence in their country. Finally, countries such as Palau and El Salvador took them in. This reviewer only viewed the short version (52 minutes) of this production. The technical aspects of this film are flawless – sound, visual, and subtitles are quite clear. The film focuses on three of these 22 including interviews with each of them and scenes of them as they settle into their new homes. There are also numerous interviews with politicians, government workers, and other talking heads along with various news and other clips depicting their saga. History and contemporary issues collections should consider purchasing.