My old employers, Channel Four have teamed up with National Geographic to bring their story of four young Britons who join the “jihadi terrorist organsation” to our screens and that means controversy.
The State, written by Peter Kosminsky is a fictional story, not only because ISIS doesn’t exist in the form that the trailer suggests, but is “based on facts and first-hand accounts collated” by the Wolf Hall director – let’s hope his months of research bare more fruit than BBC3’s Real Housewives of ISIS which received 55 complaints but didn’t warrant an OFCOM investigation.
The story follows four disillusioned young adults who travel to Syria to join the califate: Jalal (Sam Otto –Collateral) best friend, Ziyad (Ryan McKen – NW) doctor and single mother, Shakira (Ony Uhiara – Law and Order) and idealistic teenager Ushna (Shavani Seth – Homeland) who becomes radicalized online.
Kosminsky said “ISIS and its adherents have caused pain and suffering the world over… but unless we understand why some of our young men and women chose to give up the lives they were living and travel to Syria, why men and women born and brought up in our liberal democracies opt to lay down those lives in its name, how can we ever hope to combat its nihilistic creed?”
His heart seems in the right place and it’s refreshing to see half-enlightened motives, but he’s some way to go before unveiling the truth that America and Britain have been destablising the Middle East for a century. That’s what created ISIS.
The State will air on Channel 4 in the UK and Nat Geo internationally in August.