The Daily Telegraph
The Return: Life After Isis
SKY DOCUMENTARIES, 9PM
Does everyone really deserve a second chance? That’s the question we’re invited to mull over in this powerful documentary filmed over two years at Roj detention camp in northern Syria – home to 1,500 former Isil women and children stranded in the country from 56 different nations whose governments are refusing to repatriate them. The UK national Shamima Begum and US national Hoda Muthana are the best known of the women who tell their stories here – mostly they are stories of seduction by propaganda, exploitation, degradation, enslavement and extreme hardship. And there’s a strong sense that most believe now that going to Syria to join Isil was the worst decision they ever made. Whether that means they are deserving of repatriation or forgiveness or even trust is left to the viewer to decide for themselves.
Clearly most have been deeply traumatised by their experience and (as illustrated by an atrocity committed during filming) are still living in fear. It’s a film that humanises these women but underscores the insurmountable nature of their predicament, when polls consistently show most people agree with their governments’ decisions to refuse to take them back. Gerard O’donovan