GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR
TIFF DOCS D: Patrick Reed, Michelle Shephard. Canada. 80 min. Sep 14, 7:45 pm Isabel Bader; Sep 16, 9 am Bloor Hot Docs; Sep 19, 4 pm Scotiabank 14. See TIFF.net. Rating: NNNN
You know the name, and a version of the story; now meet the real human being.
Shot and captured during a firefight with U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2002, Toronto-born Khadr – then 15 – was classified an enemy combatant and shipped to the U.S. facility in Guantánamo Bay, where he spent more than a decade before lawyer Dennis Edney got him repatriated to Canada and ultimately released into his custody.
Reed and Toronto Star reporter Shephard don’t shy away from Khadr’s activities in Afghanistan, where he may or may not have thrown a lethal grenade during the firefight that resulted in his capture. But they also demonstrate his status as a minor and a child soldier.
They also show us the current traumatized man doing his best to adjust to a world he barely recognizes, and hoping people give him the chance to prove he isn’t the monster the Harper government insists he is.
The result is a complex, nuanced and surprisingly affecting documentary that’s bound to be denounced as propaganda by people who haven’t watched it.