How does a regular young man from Cairo grow up hating Jews? How does he free his mind from that hatred and ultimately free himself, even at the risk of losing his life? What do pivotal world events like 9/11, the rise of the Information Age, and the Arab Spring look like through his eyes?
Minority of One tells the story of
Hussein Aboubakr, a former political refugee from Cairo, Egypt.
"Minority of One" Directed and Edited by ORI GUENDELMAN Written by HUSSEIN ABOUBAKR Produced by ROZ ROTHSTEIN MAX SAMAROV ROY STEIN Cinematography and Field Sound by ARI EDELMAN Sound Mix and Color by SCOTT LEVINE Original Illustrations by MARI TAKEYAMA
PHOTOS FOR PROMOTIONAL ART BY ALISDARE HICKSON. NO ENDORSEMENT OF FILM MADE
Hussein was born in 1989 to an Arab Muslim family in Cairo, Egypt. After being exposed to antisemitic propaganda throughout his youth, Hussein decided to teach himself Hebrew in order to better understand fight the "enemy".
As the internet opened up a new world of information, Hussein's research led him to discover that much of what he had been taught growing up was a lie. This led to a fundamental change in his identity and worldview, which he felt he could not share with his family or others.
Now fueled by fascination rather than hatred, Hussein went to study Jewish and Middle Eastern history and Hebrew literature at the Faculty of Arts and Oriental Studies Department at Cairo University. As a student, he visited the Israeli Academic Center of Cairo to do research, a decision that changed his life forever.
Following his visit, he began facing escalating persecution at the hands of Egyptian State Security. Instead of backing down, Hussein wrote about his experiences publicly. This led to him being thrown out of his home, cut off by his family, and ultimately tortured for weeks in a military interrogation facility, under suspicion of being an Israeli spy.
Hussein feared for his life, but was ultimately released in December, 2010. He was 21 years old.
One month later, the Arab Spring protests broke out in Egypt, fueled largely by deep seated anger among young Egyptians about police brutality. Motivated by the brutal oppression he was subjected to at the hands of the Egyptian state, Hussein participated in the Egyptian revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.
Hussein continued to participate in political activism until the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power and Egyptian State Security began to pursue him once again. In 2012, at 23 years old, he was forced to depart Egypt for the first time in his life, as a political refugee.
Hussein managed to gain asylum in the United States. With only $700 to his name and a few friends in the Coptic Christian community, he made his way to Orange County, California. Suffering from PTSD and not wanting to be a charity case, he slept on the street for months before finding work.
Given that learning Hebrew had so deeply changed his life, Hussein decided he wanted to teach the language to others. Eventually he was able to secure a job as a Hebrew instructor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. In 2018 he joined the US Military and became a U.S. citizen.
That same year he visited Israel for the first time with StandWithUs, an organization he had worked with as a speaker since 2013. In 2019 he joined StandWithUs as an Educator, speaking to students and community members all over the world about his story, antisemitism in the Middle East, and other related issues.
Hussein's story illustrates the crucial importance of education. No one is born evil. Those who believe in and spread antisemitism and other forms of hatred are usually themselves victims of bad ideas which pervade their community and society. The best answer to bad ideas is good ideas. In the Middle East and elsewhere, this shift must come through a change in education. Minority of One aims to inspire people around the world to be part of that change.
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