UNA-NY Screening the Issues

Horses of God

Please join us for this screening
followed by a discussion with special guest

UN Security Council expert
Former Senior Fellow, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University



Thursday | August 21, 2014

5:00 - 5:30 p.m. | Registration
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. | Screening
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. | Discussion

PLEASE NOTE: Screening begins promptly at 5:30 p.m.

Dolby 88 Screening Room
1350 Avenue of the Americas (at West 55th Street)
Lobby Level
New York, NY 10019



UNA Members: $10
UNA Students Members: FREE
Guests and Non-Members: $15

HORSES OF GOD, directed by Nabil Ayouch, and which premièred in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, is based on Mahi Binebine's novel The Stars of Sidi Moumen, about the 2003 bombings in Casablanca.

Ten year-old Yachine and his 13-year-old brother Hamid live in Sidi Moumen, an impoverished slum on the outskirts of Casablanca. Hamid, though just a child, works hard to sustain his family by any means, but eventually gets involved with the "wrong crowd" and becomes one of the local neighborhood bosses. Yet, he continues to fiercely protect his brother Yachine — until the day he is thrown into prison. After years in jail, Hamid returns home a changed man: he is now an Islamic fundamentalist. Now back home, he persuades Yachine and his pals to join their brother.

The Imam Abou Zoubeir, their spiritual leader, begins to direct their physical and mental preparation. One day, he tells them they have been chosen to become martyrs. On May 16th of 2003, they commit the deadliest act of terrorism in Morocco's history.

From an enthusiastic review for IndieWire: "Ayouch's work uses the boys' experiences to examine the recent history of Morocco and its position within the Muslim world. His camera glides through the desolated urban wasteland and dives into a controversial subject with fearless assertiveness. Stunningly impacting, the film capitalizes on all-around great performances… With imperative urgency this work seeks to humanize these indoctrinated individuals who are often thought of as monsters. By doing so the filmmaker reveals how the real evildoers benefit from the lack of opportunities and use faith as a lethal weapon."

Nabil Ayouch | Director's Statement

I am very familiar with the shantytown of Sidi Moumen, as I shot some documentary films there since the end of the 90s. On May 16th, 2003, when five bombs exploded in the center of Casablanca, it was a terrible shock for the whole of the Moroccan people. A Jewish cultural circle and cemetery, an Italian restaurant, a Spanish restaurant and a high-end hotel. The suicide bombers had decided to touch that which makes the heart of Moroccan identity: 2,000 years of history based on tolerance and on the mixture of races and religions.

In the days that followed, I learnt that these suicide bombers all came from that famous slum of Sidi Moumen, which I knew inside out, and were for the most kids of about twenty; uneducated, abandoned by the state and cut off from the rest of society. I decided to return to Sidi Moumen and begin the long process of listening to this forgotten youth, in collaboration with the local associations. I especially decided to build step by step the foundations of a film that goes beyond the barbaric act that these suicide attacks represent. Violence is not a show, violence does not come from nowhere; it has an origin. HORSES OF GOD goes back to the roots of this violence and shows us, without judging, how 10-year-old children lost their humanity and were transformed into human bombs. More than ever, it seems to me important today that the American audience hears another voice on a phenomenon as sensitive as terrorism.

Alexander Evans is the coordinator of an United Nations Security Council expert team. He was appointed in January 2013 by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Alexander was previously a senior fellow at Yale's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations. During 2012 he also led an Asia Society review of U.S. South Asia policy. He is a former Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress, and has worked at the Department of State as a senior advisor, first to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and then to Ambassador Marc Grossman, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before working for the U.S. government Alexander served as a British diplomat in Islamabad and New Delhi and as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, London.

Prior to the British diplomatic service Alexander was research director at Policy Exchange and an associate fellow at Chatham House. He was also a regular commentator for BBC World TV, CNN and Reuters. Alexander has worked for the U.N. in Afghanistan, been an adjunct fellow at the Stimson Center, Washington DC, and worked in Macedonia as a political advisor and for the OSCE. He was director of studies of a financial think-tank, the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, worked in the private office of the President of the General Medical Council, and began his career as an international policy advisor at the Adam Smith Institute.

Alexander has published extensively on international affairs, contributing to books and journals including Foreign Affairs. He is a visiting senior research fellow at King's College London, and has previously held fellowships at Yale University (2009 World Fellow) and Nuffield College Oxford (Gwilym Gibbon Fellow, 2006-2010). He has a PhD in politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List. He lives in New York.


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