Bearing Witness

A survivor of a brutal post 9/11 hate crime, Rais Bhuiyan, conducted relief work at the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and documented their plight through the lens of a survivor.

  • Rais Bhuiyan
    Director
  • Rais & Jessica Bhuiyan
    Writer
  • Rais Bhuiyan
    Producer
  • Jessica Bhuiyan, Co-Producer
    Producer
  • Mustafa Jamal, Co-Producer
    Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Bangladesh
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Distribution Information
  • Rais Bhuiyan
    Country: Worldwide
Director Biography - Rais Bhuiyan

Rais Bhuiyan, an American Muslim, is an extraordinary individual with a powerful story. Ten days after 9/11, Rais survived a brutal post 9/11 hate crime in Dallas, TX. His near-death experience and subsequent religious pilgrimage sparked a profound journey for Rais, including an international campaign advocating to save his attacker from death row. Ever since, Rais has dedicated his life to transforming hearts and opening minds, sharing his extraordinary story of survival, resilience, forgiveness, and empathy with audiences of all ages and backgrounds around the world.

Rais’ story is chronicled in The True American: Murder& Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas; the 2014 New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Rais worked with the Obama Administration’s Domestic Policy Council, receiving a personal letter from the President thanking him for his courageous efforts. He currently represents the U.S. Department of State, supporting federal efforts for peace and understanding. Rais has received numerous acknowledgements for his work, including the 2011 Americans of the Year, Esquire Magazine; 2014 American Heritage Award, American Immigration Council; 2018 ADL Washington, D.C. Kay Family Award & Concert Against Hate Honoree, among others. Rais founded the non-profit World Without Hate in 2011 to help break the cycle of hate and violence through storytelling and empathy education. More information can be found at www.worldwithouthate.org.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

When I first heard about the Rohingya crisis, I was a flight cadet in the Bangladesh Air Force and couldn’t do anything except pray for these poor and vulnerable people. When the crisis resurfaced in 2017, I had already experienced the brutal pain of hate and violence firsthand being a victim of a violent post 9/11 hate crime in Dallas, Texas. I had also gained a voice, and the strength to stand up against hate, injustice and human suffering. My heart broke seeing the plight of the Rohingya people and wanted to do whatever I could to help them, and to bring awareness to this catastrophic issue. About a couple of years ago, I visited the camp to do relief work, as well as speak with many of the refugees who asked me to share their stories and their voices. As part of my promise to them, the documentary came to be.

Through the work of my non-profit, World Without Hate, we focus our efforts on breaking the cycle of hate and violence through storytelling and empathy education. The documentary short I created is our way of telling the Rohingya refugees story in hopes of bringing more awareness to and empathy for the millions who are barely surviving in what has become the world’s largest refugee camp. We may not be able to solve this humanitarian catastrophe ourselves, but together, we can send a collective message that we support those who are suffering, that we have not forgotten them or their plight, and we can utilize our voices and urge our leaders to act.

In this 16-minute short, I not only reflected on the plight of the Rohingya and the millions who are barely surviving in the largest refugee camp in the world, but also proposed a 5 points solution to end this senseless human suffering.

I also hope that bearing witness to the plight of the Rohingya reminds us of how much we have to be grateful for and in this, making the best use of our resources to help eradicate hate and violence from our communities, our nation, and our world. Together, we must stand up against human suffering.