We Are Monster.
Speaking to both the director, Anthony Petrou and the writer/actor Leeshon Alexander (who brilliantly plays both Stewart and his alto ego) following the screening of the movie I opined that there film was possible the most uncomfortable 88 minutes I have ever sat through in the cinema. Both pointed out that the film must have resonated with me because that’s the effect that it was meant to have by asking the question ‘how could someone be racially driven to commit murder’ and I would add to that how could the authorities let this happen in one of Her Majesty’s Prisons namely Feltham Young Offenders Institution?
Zahid Mubarek was a British Asian teenager who was serving a first time sentence of 90 days for stealing some razor blades worth the grand sum of £6! Before he could finish his sentence he was forced to share his cell with 20-year-old Robert Stewart who was transferred to Feltham with little or no accompanying paperwork. The wardens were said to be unaware of his racialist background, although the cross and RIP tattooed on his forehead should have given them a clue that Stewart was a seriously disturbed individual but the prison staff, in the main, ignored these warning signs. The prison authorities even refused Mubarek request to be moved to another cell when he complained that Stewart was beginning to scare him. On the 21 March 2000 just five hours from the end of his sentence Zahid Mubarek was brutally attacked and killed by Robert Stewart who had fashioned a weapon from part of the cell table something the guards failed to notice on their regular cell inspection’s!
As I said an uncomfortable, almost unbelievable, race relation’s horror story that has never received the media support it should have done. It made me feel like working walk out of the cinema, but I’m glad I stuck with it – and so should you if you ever get the opportunity to watch this contentious but well researched story made by a group of genuinely concerned and passionate people who in fact have softened the story somewhat because they were worried that people would think this horrendous tale could not possibly be true if they showed the complete story. Although it must be admitted that the system let down both boys, one very early in his life when he was around seven years old and the other lad when he was forced to share a cell with him, it ended with an innocent human being having his life cut short because of the colour of his skin.