POV: The Feeling of Being Watched

Go Under Surveillance with POV: The Feeling of Being Watched

Posted by Dustin Pyeatt on

The hair on the back of your neck stands up. You get a creepy, uneasy feeling. You can’t explain it, but you just know that you’re being watched. For most of us, this feeling passes when we look around and our eyes don’t meet another’s gaze. But, for journalist and filmmaker Assia Boundaoui, being watched is something she felt throughout her childhood.

In POV: The Feeling of Being Watched, 9 p.m., Oct. 14, Boundaoui looks at the Muslim-American neighborhood outside Chicago where she grew up, and finds that her own government has been looking back, for years.

While investigating the experiences of the neighbors she grew up with, Boundaoui uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that proved her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. prior to 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.”

Boundaoui weaves together the personal and the political in an examination of why her community ― including her own family ― were under government surveillance. In the process, she takes the FBI to federal court to compel the release of records collected on her community.

In seeking answers, she finds resistance from the government and some members of her community. She even finds herself placed on a government “watch list.”

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