[Summary] For Sama: A Mother’s Struggle in War-Torn Syria (Director Waad Al-Kateab)

I wrote this article in Japanese and translated it into English using ChatGPT. I also used ChatGPT to create the English article title. I did my best to correct any translation mistakes, but please let me know if you find any errors. By the way, I did not use ChatGPT when writing the Japanese article. The entire article was written from scratch by me, Saikawa Goto.



Movies and books covered in this article

(Click This Image to Go Directly to the Amazon Prime Video Movie “For Sama”: Image from Amazon.com)

I will write an article about this movie/book

Three takeaways from this article

  1. Hamza, a revolutionary leader, Waad, who continues to document the battlefield, and their daughter Sama.
  2. A revolution that lives a normal life in an ever-bombed city without resistance.
  3. It makes me wonder if I could sacrifice my life for justice.

In an era where we “choose” our own information, it is very shameful to simply say “I didn’t know.”

Self-introduction article

Please refer to the self-introduction article above to learn about the person writing this article. Be sure to check out the Kindle book linked below as well.

Published Kindle books(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

“The genius Einstein: An easy-to-understand book about interesting science advances that is not too simple based on his life and discoveries: Theory of Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Theory”

“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

The quotes used in this article are based on notes taken at the movie theater from movies in Japanese and are not direct quotes from the foreign language original movies, even if they exist.

This is the Most Intense Movie I’ve Ever Seen

I Don’t Like Rankings, But…

When it comes to books or movies, I’m not good at answering questions like “What’s your all-time favorite?” because how I feel about a work can vary greatly depending on the circumstances in which I experienced it. I can’t rank a work purely and objectively, because the way I receive it changes depending on myself and my situation. Even if someone ask me, “I don’t care about that objectivity, I just want to know your favorite,” my answer would still change depending on my mood when asked.

So basically, I don’t answer those kinds of questions and I don’t evaluate works with rankings or star ratings myself.

However, to be honest, this movie is by far the best I have ever seen. I was so shocked that I wondered if there would be any more movies that could surpass it in the future.

I was repeatedly struck by the impact of a world, where is very hard to believe it is a documentary, that was so shocking that it made me sigh at the thought of human beings being placed in such a situation.

She regrets having given birth to my daughter

The person making this film is a mother of one child. In the movie, she says,

Right now, I regret giving birth to you.
I regret meeting your father.
I also regret leaving my parents’ home.

Of course, it’s not her true feelings. Her daughter is her most beloved existence. When you watch the movie, you can feel how much she loves her daughter.

However, she says that she “regrets” having given birth to such daughter.

Well, it’s understandable. Even though she chose to stay, she’s living in a place where she could lose her life in a bombing at any moment.

She is making a movie for her daughter.

Sama, I made this for you.
To convey the choices your father and I made, and to show what we fought for.

This movie is also a grand love letter that stakes her life on it.

Setting of the Movie and Reality

Mother, Waad, and Father, Hamza

Waad and Hamza, who are the loving parents of their daughter, Sama, met when Waad was a student at the University of Aleppo.

In 2012, when Waad was a fourth-year student, the people rose up. The country of Syria was sinking in corruption, fraud, and oppression under the Assad regime. In response to this situation, the demonstrations became more active. Waad had always admired journalism and began filming her surroundings with her smartphone.

Waad decided to document the situation in Syria by following her friend and activist, Hamza, who was also a doctor. The leaders of the demonstrations were confident of victory, but the regime put up fierce resistance. The civil war escalated, and Hamza was faced with the tough decision of whether to stay for the revolution or flee with his wife.

That’s right, Hamza was married at the time.

Hamza chose the revolution and separated from his wife. He stayed in East Aleppo and managed to start a clinic in an environment where schools and hospitals were not functioning at all. Waad also stayed for the revolution and continued to capture the reality of East Aleppo.

The leader of the revolution and the journalist who spread the reality to the world got married. They found out they were pregnant and named their daughter “Sama,” which means “sky” in Arabic. They hoped for the return of the blue “sky” with only clouds and no air force or bombs.

They each appealed to the world in their own way about the reality of Syria.

I spoke on the news many times. My photos were seen by millions of people. Still, no one stops the regime. Our only allies are ourselves.

Why did They Stay in Aleppo?

Hamza and his companions stayed in East Aleppo, where buildings were collapsing and they were bombarded every day. Can you guess why? They were not carrying weapons and were not at the front lines to fight against the government army.

The answer is this:

Living here normally is a resistance against the regime.

Yes, they have found revolution in “just continuing to live there.”

Aleppo is an area with many anti-government rebels. Therefore, the residents here who do not flee from the bombings and continue their daily lives are sending a clear message to the government.

Revolution is not just about using weapons. They assert their beliefs by simply enduring.

Many people are killed or injured by the bombings and suffer from chlorine gas. Nevertheless, they resist and say “NO” to the government by maintaining their normal lives without using weapons, enduring with all their might.

A Mother and a Revolutionary

When Waad decided to stay in Aleppo, she was not yet a mother. She was a revolutionary who shared the same aspirations with Hamza and others. Later on, she becomes a mother.

Her destiny is unimaginably harsh.

This is our path.
It’s a long road with dangerous and fear waiting.
But at the end of it, there is freedom.
Let’s go. Let’s walk together.

These were the words Hamza said to Waad on their wedding day. They have no choice but to stay in Aleppo and fight for their revolution.

However, it’s not easy to make the choice to stay in a heavily bombed area with a newborn baby.

In the movie, Waad expresses her anxiety repeatedly, which is understandable. However, she leaves her newborn daughter behind to film the city of Aleppo.

She pours as much love as possible into being a mother, but at the same time, she feels a sense of duty that she is the only one who can record this reality.

It’s truly amazing.

I was shocked by the seemingly staged relationship between Waad and Hamza, which seemed like it could only exist in fiction. They were originally best friends, but Hamza had a wife. However, for the sake of the revolution, Hamza left his first wife. Hamza is the leader of the revolution and Waad is a journalist reporting on the reality of Aleppo. These two, who are at the center of the revolution, got married in a city where the bombing never stops and gave birth to their daughter.

It’s a relationship that seems too good to be true, almost like something out of fiction.

Through countless choices, they made the decision to stay on the battlefield. That decision resulted in this work. That is why it has an unusual toughness, and thanks to that, I think it is distributed around the world as a story that encompasses a stronger message.

Unthinkable Choices, an Unthinkable Daily Life

Returning to the Battlefield With Their Daughter

Waad and Hamza once left Aleppo and entered Turkey to introduce their daughter to Hamza’s parents.

However, when they tried to return, they realized that almost all roads leading to Aleppo were blocked. There was no safe route to return to Aleppo (which, in the first place, was not safe).

After all, what did they do?

Amazingly, they passed through a dangerous zone on the front line with their daughter and forcefully returned to Aleppo.

No one understood.
Hamza’s parents told us to leave Sama behind.
We knew his parents were right.
But our hearts couldn’t let go of you.
We don’t even understand it ourselves.
We still can’t believe we took that action.

Wow, it’s amazing. I can’t say whether their actions were the right choice or not, but I know that what they did was incredible.

While pointing the camera at Hamza, Waad asks, “Why did you go back?” She must have felt anxious and unsure at that time, but I think she wanted to confirm her husband’s intentions more than anything else.

We have been fighting for five years.
For justice against oppression.
Here, each and every one of us has an important role to play.
This girl has an important role to play too, you know.

It’s not easy to have the courage like they did.

The Smiles that Overflow on the Battlefield

Strangely enough, this movie is filled with smiles.

I think it’s a manifestation of their strong will.

If the city suddenly turned into a battlefield, there would be an abundance of tragic faces. However, the residents of Aleppo choose to stay here by their own will. Despite knowing that they may die tomorrow, they still remain with the belief that something will change by living here.

So, I think that’s why they can smile.

Waad often filmed of her close friend’s family, which consists of both parents and three children. Surprisingly, it is the children’s decision to stay in Aleppo. The oldest son said, “Even if our whole family were to leave from Aleppo, I will stay here.” They respect the children’s decision and all stay together.

Living in Aleppo is tragically difficult. There are bombings every day and the siege has made it difficult to get supplies. Despite this, the residents of Aleppo do not lose their smiles.

Everything about this movie is truly amazing.

There’s No Way We Can Remain Ignorant of This Reality

Waad, who stayed in the city of Aleppo risking her life along with other residents, pointed her camera at things that ordinary journalists mighty not be able to capture. Because the one taking the photo and the one being photographed were comrades, there were no taboos. She recorded everything, from blood-stained floors to a boy with a broken arm, children who had lost their families, and a gray fetus delivered by caesarean section.

Don’t avert your eyes from the reality like this. I felt as if I was being confronted with such an assertion.

In modern times, it’s an era of “choosing” information. Various filtering functions enable us to obtain only the “desired information”. It’s convenient. However, the more it is in such a world, the less the reality of the battlefield will reach many people. Because it’s not the “desired information”.

And we conveniently say “I didn’t know.” In reality, it may just be because we didn’t actively seek out information, but we ignore it with an attitude that implies we had no choice because the information didn’t come to us.

Without being careful, anyone can fall into this kind of behavior as if it were normal.

We can’t know everything in the world, and it’s impossible to grasp it all. However, by many people “knowing,” there are situations where reality can change greatly. War is definitely one of them.

To “know,” we have to be interested.

No matter where we look, the everyday life is filled with nothing but “tragedy”. There are those who have chosen to live in such an environment, albeit of their own volition. Or there must be countless others somewhere in the world who face the same misery.

Unless one is very wealthy or has significant power, humans are basically powerless. Even if a small number of people join together, they cannot accomplish much. However, the power of “knowing” is quite significant. It is possible for many people to make a difference by knowing and showing interest in a situation.

This child does not cry like most children.
And that’s hard for me.

Even with the sound of explosions, Sama doesn’t cry out loud.

Let’s not turn away from that reality.


Those who remained in Aleppo to aspire the revolution eventually left Aleppo. Waad and Hamza fled to London. Their footage was also safe.

However, filmmaking was a suffering for Waad. The Japanese version of the official website states,

Making the film was just as difficult as spending several years in Aleppo. Because we had to relive everything many times over.

「娘は戦場で生まれた」official website

As mentioned earlier, Waad completed this film for the sake of her daughter.

In the film, she spoke powerfully,

Even if I could turn back time, I would do the same thing. Even if my emotional scars never heal, I have no regrets.

It may be a cliché, but it’s hard to express it any other way: this is a truly miraculous work. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll ever see another film like this again.

It’s a movie that you need to see to understand the unimaginable reality that they faced. And it’s a movie that opens the door to curiosity about “knowing the world.” I believe this film should be seen by as many people as possible.

Published Kindle books(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

“The genius Einstein: An easy-to-understand book about interesting science advances that is not too simple based on his life and discoveries: Theory of Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Theory”

“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

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