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Temple Israel in Westport to screen “82 Names: Syria, Please Don’t Forget Us”

WESTPORT– A screening of “82 Names: Syria, Please Don’t Forget Us,” a documentary film about Mansour Omari, a refugee who was tortured and imprisoned in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, will be held at Temple Israel in Westport, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

In the film, Omari, living in exile, reflects on bringing attention to the brutal regime he escaped from, visiting Holocaust memorials in Germany to learn about the importance of preserving the past and countering extremist ideology.

“To connect people with the crisis in Syria, Omari worked with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to create an exhibition called Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us about the individuals he knew in prison,” says Sindy Lugerner, assistant director of development and operations for the Museum’s Northeast regional office. “82 Names is a powerful story of how one man risked his life to document atrocity crimes and bring that evidence to the world.”

Omari was arrested in February 2012 and spent nearly a year in secret government prisons. In one of those facilities several prisoners mixed rust from prison bars with their own blood to create an ink and then used a chicken bone as an implement to record the names of 82 fellow prisoners on five scraps of cloth. The first detainee released would smuggle out the cloths and inform families about where loved ones were being held.

“I survived, but others are still underground,” Omari says. “It’s my responsibility, and my duty, to have the world know these names.”

“We are honored to be able to bring this poignant film to Westport,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of the Westport Library. “At a time when our national and global conversation often focuses on the struggles of  populations fleeing genocide and mass violence, we believe it is critical to help foster education, understanding and conversation on this important issue.”

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Rafif Jouejati, co-founder and director of FREE-Syria, and Mina Abdelmalak, Arabic audience outreach specialist for the Museum’s Initiative on Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism.

Among the event’s co-sponsors are Temple Israel and The Conservative Synagogue, both of Westport. The Syria Fund, and CT Institute for Refugees & Immigrants.

Temple Israel is located at 14 Coleytown Road in Westport. Admission is FREE, but reservations are required. For information: (203) 227-1293.

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