From the United Arab Emirates a flower of compassion blossoms, reaching the hearts of those she touches with her fragrance of kindness. On today's Vegetarian Elite, it is our pleasure to introduce to you that beautiful flower of the desert, Abir Alsayed, a vegan director and producer for Hot Spot Films in Dubai.
Ms. Alsayed also works as an independent filmmaker, freelancing for Al Jazeera, a leading international Arabic news network based in Doha, Qatar.
(In Arabic) Abir (f): There are a lot of wishes that one hopes to achieve in life. On the professional level, I would like to evolve more as a director and do films on a larger scale. Of course, thank God, I'm now working for a channel that has millions of viewers. However, there is still the dream to make movies to reach the largest number of people through festivals and the like - and to make movies that have issues that are really important to me.
HOST: As a documentary filmmaker, Ms. Alsayed writes, “Films are a tool of change, they are a tool for the voiceless to be heard.” Today on our show, as throughout most of her life, Ms. Alsayed speaks out for the many voiceless - our beloved animal co-inhabitants.
In fact, her love for life is an intrinsic quality that has flowered within her heart from a very young age. Abir (f): I'm a vegetarian. I cannot say how long because I've been a vegetarian since I was born. When I was young, they kept asking me to eat meat. I did not see it as meat, but as an animal, not food. He is a being that has a life, children, and has... I did not look at it as something could be placed in a dish to be eaten.
HOST: In spite of being the only vegetarian in her family, Ms. Alsayed stayed strong in her conviction to have no part in the taking of animal lives while growing up.
Abir (f): I am originally from Syria. In Syria, there is a lot of vegetarian food, but they always consider it as appetizers being offered before the main meal. The main meal is always meat. When I was little and my family was invited somewhere, when they gave me food and saw that I ate only the vegetarian dishes, they'd say, “You did not eat anything!” You must eat meat in order to be considered that you ate well. So my situation developed further due to the love for animals or the aversion to live on [another's] blood. So, frankly, I can live relying on vegetables, not on blood for nourishment.