I’ve been a BBC journalist in International News for the past twelve years and I’ve covered a lot of incredible and harrowing stories. I was breaking news in Cairo, Egypt reporting on The Arab Spring from day one in Tahrir Square, the war in Gaza and the crisis in Yemen.
In September 2016, I secured a prestigious Knight-Wallace Fellowship, followed by a fellowship at School of Environment at the University of Michigan, to research water contamination in Flint and on the Navajo Nation. During the making of my film I visited numerous Navajo communities living amidst piles of uranium mine waste. Some were so radioactive the geiger counter maxed out. In Flint, I filmed with a mother whose baby had elevated levels of lead from her breast milk. I experienced the crackdown on freedom of speech, when I got arrested for filming a peaceful pipeline protest. I’m now back at the BBC as an investigative TV journalist, where I continue to cover pollution, corporate malfeasance and other rights issues.
Through the stories of the Navajo, Flint and Standing Rock, this film links widespread water contamination to the erosion of democracy in the United States. It shows that several toxins are known to at least the offending corporations and government officials, but that all too often they do not share their findings. 'Thirst For Justice' viscerally demonstrates the increasing restrictions to freedom in America.
In Standing Rock people are met with teargas, rubber bullets and water canon. The filmmaker was also arrested, detained and faced $85,000 in restitution by the biggest pipeline company in North America. There are many villains - the corporate giants, government officials and the forces of racism, greed and inequality.
But the hope is in ordinary citizens, who are the film’s heroes and heroines, fighting to take back their power to protect our most precious resource – water.