Heroes Brunch 2018: Pentagon Papers Leaker Daniel Ellsberg Calls For More Whistle-blowing

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On March 3rd 2018, Cinema For Peace was proud to host our Heroes Brunch at the Andaz West Hollywood in Los Angeles. The Heroes Brunch is designed to celebrate the true heroes whose stories have inspired moving and enlightening films and documentaries over the last year - many of which were also nominated at this year's Academy Awards.

Honorees in 2018 included Daniel Ellsberg, the former nuclear strategist and Pentagon Papers whistle-blower, whose work helped end the Vietnam War and promote the freedom of the press in the US. Joining him was Aziz Alhamza, spokesperson and co-founder of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, a citizen journalist collective who reported on the excesses of the Islamic State regime in Raqqa and whose story was recently highlighted in the documentary, City of Ghosts.

 Aziz Alhamza, spokesperson and co-founder of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

Aziz Alhamza, spokesperson and co-founder of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

The brunch also hosted delegations from the Syrian Civil Defense (better known as 'The White Helmets') who featured in the Oscar nominated documentary Last Men in Aleppo, the production team of Oscar nominated animation The Breadwinner and Leia Conners, director of Gorbachev documentary, Arrow of Time.

Speaking at the event, the 86-year old Daniel Ellsberg, whose story was featured in Steven Spielberg's Oscar nominated historical drama The Post, called for more whistle-blowers to protect the rights of the First Amendment and reveal to the world the nuclear plans and strategies of the US, Russia and North Korea.

He also praised former President Mikhail Gorbachev and stated that without his leadership during the latter years of the Cold War "there would have been an end to civilization before the end of the last century."

The activists from Syria talked to fellow guests about the ongoing situation in their country, including the dire need for help from the international community. Later, the congregation discussed constructive ways in which a meaningful solution can be arrived at in the region.

Cinema Peace