Sociopolitical Documentary hosted by Kiki King, broadcasted by Channel 4 as part of Channel 4 “Unreported World series in 2015”
By Sam Wollaston – The Guardian
Reporter Kiki King has a serious pair of bollocks. So does James Brabazon, director of Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis (Channel 4). Earlier in the year they got themselves smuggled into Kobani while it was surrounded – and still partly occupied – by the Islamic State. They witnessed the last days of the battle that saw Kurdish fighters finally repel the jihadis from the Syrian city.
I don’t know anything about Kiki’s and James’s family situations, but their mums must have been having kittens. Maybe they just sneak off without telling, or lie (like westerners going to fight for the caliphate, ironically). “Yeah, it’s like a travel programme we’re filming, Mum, cool places to go to beat the winter blues, Turkey and thereabouts … ” Maybe Kiki tells her mother she’s still a tabloid showbiz reporter. Actually, that’s probably pretty good training – if you’re hard enough to take the flak that comes with being a 3am Girl at the Daily Mirror, you can easily cope with anything those Isis pussies throw at you.
Anyway, it’s an extraordinary, nightmarish place they find, barely recognisable as a city. Piles of rubble where buildings once stood, burnt-out cars and tanks, bodies and burials all over the place. And the battle still raging all around – the rat-a-tat of Isis sniper fire; a boom as a Kurdish teenage girl fires a mortar back; bigger booms still, as coalition bombs rain down from planes flying overhead (making weirdly beautiful circular vapour trails in the cold blue sky).
And yet Kiki and James – mustn’t forget him just because he’s behind the camera, too often the unsung heroes of war reporting – also find unexpected pockets of humanity. A school, down a tunnel under the rubble, somehow still operating as a school. A hospital – under fire, understaffed, under-equipped, under everything, somehow still operating (under local anaesthetic) and patching up the wounded. Two fighters sharing a carton of milk with a puppy in the street.
And then, at the end, after Isis have been sent packing, a baby somehow born into this hellhole – a boy, called Jiyan, which is Kurdish for life.
Source: The Guardian