It can be hard for those of us in the free West, separated from Iraq by an ocean and multiple languages, to personalize the dire ordeal of Iraqi and Syrian Christians.
A new film brings us into their lives: Jordan Allott’s “Our Last Stand,” from In Altum Productions, premiering today August 19 in New York and in Washington, D.C. on September 9.
Allott and Helma Adde, a first generation Assyrian American, traveled to northern Iraq and Syria in July 2015, within rifle shot of ISIS-held territory. They brought back the stories, faces, and voices of Christians and Yazidis who have lost nearly everything except an ancient culture they work to keep alive along with their families.
Allott’s award-winning photography brings color and texture to a sandy and war torn terrain. He also introduces us to heroes, both of the charitable kind preserving a semblance of childhood and learning for refugee children, and also of the martial kind, as Christian towns and neighborhoods arm and train themselves to survive the crossfire of ISIS, al Nusra, Assad, the Kurds and the Iraqi military.
While Allott transports us there, Adde walks with us on the trip. For her it’s not just a humanitarian mission. We share her personal journey into her own family history, including relatives still living in Syria, and into the roots of a culture reeling from displacement, kidnapping, and massacres, yet still scrawling grammar lessons on a white board to sustain their use of the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus himself.
I can’t imagine ISIS on the border of my neighborhood, where I worship, my kids play, and I might visit my cousins. In Our Last Stand, Allott and Adde bring us there, where maybe we will see enough to reach out and help.
Our Last Stand premieres at the SVA Theater in New York City today, August 19, and at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. on September 9. More information is available at OurLastStandFilm.com.