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Avoiding Armageddon
Personal Tales

Ali Shah Khan

Ehab Yusef

Essam Alridi

Leonid Smirnov

Leroy Richmond

Milya and Gosman Kobirov

Omeed

James & Robin Wong

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Stories from Avoiding Armageddon

"Avoiding Armageddon" examines the threats from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and brings viewers face-to-face with the people most impacted by them. These weapons that hold the seeds of mankind's destruction ironically came from the best of mankind's ingenuity.

The people highlighted in the production are neither famous nor powerful. But these ordinary people, through the choices that they have made, are either bringing the world closer to the brink of Armageddon or are helping us to avoid it.


Ali Shah Khan
Ali Shah Khan did not recognize Kabul when he returned with his family after years as a refugee in Pakistan during the Taliban's repressive regime. As he races to rebuild his family home that was destroyed during the years of civil unrest, he wonders what the future holds for him and his family. Can United Nation's forces protect his homeland so he doesn't have to worry about renewed fighting? Will the world help Afghanistan rebuild its demolished infrastructure so his family will not just survive, but thrive?

Ali Shah Khan

Ali Shah Khan

Ehab Yusef
In many ways Ehab Yusef is like any other teenager anywhere in the world. He hangs out with his friends, he longs to travel and see the world, and he loves to draw. But Ehab doesn't know how these peaceful dreams can ever come true. Surrounded by mayhem and death in his home on the Gaza Strip, Yusef has seen many of his friends' lives cut short. He has been wounded twice in rock-throwing scuffles with Israeli soldiers and he wonders how he can be a peaceful person if all he sees is violence.

Ehab Yusef

Ehab Yusef

Essam Alridi
Essam Alridi is an Egyptian American, a devout Muslim and a former comrade of Osama bin Laden. In the 1980s, he joined the mujahadeen in its battle against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, fighting alongside Osama bin Laden. At a time when the United States endorsed any efforts to extract the Soviets from Afghanistan, his adopted country supported Alridi's personal mission. But in 1993, he parted ways with bin Laden, proclaiming the terrorist to be just a killer. Alridi has returned to his adopted home in Texas.

Essam Alridi

Essam Alridi

Leonid Smirnov
While working as a foreman in a Russian uranium waste recycling plant, Smirnov saw an article about nuclear thievery in his local newspaper. Given his small salary and the instability of the Russian economy, Smirnov thought he had found the perfect way to supplement his income. He began to steal small quantities of highly enriched uranium and stored it in his apartment. On his way to find a buyer for this dangerous material, police arrested Smirnov. Smirnov served a brief jail term and is now working as an assistant in a Moscow exchange office. Amazingly until Smirnov was caught, no one noticed the missing uranium.

Leonid Smirnov

Leonid Smirnov

Leroy Richmond
Leroy Richmond, 58, was an ordinary person who became a victim of an extraordinary biological attack. He had worked 36 years for the U.S. Postal Service when in 2001 he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. At his post in the Brentwood postal facility outside Washington, he was too close when the sorting machine that processed the anthrax-filled letter to Senator Tom Daschle was cleaned. Richmond soon became ill. The diagnosis: inhalation anthrax. Richmond survived but has been unable to work since, suffering from weakness, fatigue, loss of memory and other debilitating symptoms.

Leroy Richmond

Leroy Richmond

Milya and Gosman Kobirov
The Kobirovs are teachers turned activists, inspired to action by the environmental disaster that has destroyed their town. Chelyabinsk, Russia, is the site of the Mayak nuclear weapons facility, which secretly released tons of atomic waste into the surrounding air, ground and water - a lethal legacy from the Cold War nuclear weapons race. The Kobirovs gained access to the official government medical records chronicling the illnesses suffered by the region's residents and were stunned by evidence that officials had callously monitored villagers' worsening health without any intervention to improve their plight.

Milya & Gosman Kobirov

Milya & Gosman
Kobirov


Omeed
Omeed is a 12-year-old Afghan boy who spends his days selling newspapers on the rubble-strewn streets of Kabul. His family recently returned to the war-ravaged country after years as refugees in Pakistan. His father is unable to support his family and they depend on the income that Omeed earns by selling newspapers for up to 10 hours a day. Omeed longs to go to school so one day he will be able to read the newspapers that he sells.

Omeed

Omeed

James and Robin Wong
Robin and James Wong are residents of earthquake-prone San Francisco. They know what to do in an emergency and as members of a Neighborhood Response Team, they have been trained to rescue victims of an earthquake. But when they participate in drills these days, they know that the next emergency may not be a natural disaster, but a terrorist hit. Preparing their family for the worst, they believe that America's best defense comes when every citizen is prepared.

James & Robin Wong

James and Robin
Wong


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