The Daily Telegraph

The Return: Life After Isis



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

 ??  ?? Stranded: Shamima Begum is living stateless in northern Syria
Stranded: Shamima Begum is living stateless in northern Syria

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