Missed opportunities

5 Sep, '07

Tell me something guys, if you were in a down-and-out situation and someone offered you a lifeline would you take it?

Of course you would, as most sane human beings. But if the situation is complicated with a sense of self-importance, of too much ego or with any of the plethora of psychological aberrations then even if you do take that lifeline, most would soon go into a usual self -destruct mode.

That’s unfortunately what seemed to what happened to Amor Setter. A person who is mired in debt, unpaid bills, theft of monies due to staff amongst other unsavoury things, given a lifeline to start a much needed film school in Bahrain with an almost iron-clad assurance of making money, has flushed this genuine opportunity and now – typically – is blaming everyone for not only the venture’s failure but herself.

The story, my friends, is that a Bahraini investor named Hijris Al-Shirawi has identified an opportunity to start a film school in Bahrain, especially that he already owns and operates a related media company, but as he recognised his own limitations, sought to employ people to run it for him and through his own research he thought that the best candidates to staff his venture with were available in South Africa. Through his research he fell upon a company offering training very similar to what he wanted to offer back home and found that its principal appeared to have all the right qualifications, so he set up a meeting to discuss the venture with it’s owner, Amor Setter.

Amour Elliot-Setter - wannabe film-maker

The results of that meeting is that Amor Setter agreed to relocate to Bahrain to offer the same courses in Hijris’ new school on the premise that a partnership between Amor and Hijris might be considered in time should the business blossom and become self-supporting. In the interim, both prospective partners will pay out of their own pockets for their expenses. Hijris has agreed, as a matter of good faith, to pay for the transport of Amor’s equipment to Bahrain in order for them to be used in the new school. As it transpired, Hijris not only paid for the transport of her equipment, but also for whole wardrobes full of personal effects which more than doubled the initial agreed costs. That should have rung the warning bells in Hijris’ mind quite audibly on its own, unfortunately due to his naivety he let it slide.

That lapse of judgement resulted in him being mercilessly being taken advantage of: he ultimately rented and paid for her villa, car hire and various other expenses over the next 2 – 3 months, the last of which was a demand for him to pay for an exclusive membership in the Novotel resort, hair, manicures, pocket money for a young son in South Africa, school fees and various other just as fantastic demands.

In the mean time, Amor realised that particular well was running dry, creditors from South Africa were on her tail and have contacted her prospective partner with demands to settle unpaid invoices to extras and other talent in her native country, had taken it upon herself to find other local partners, and that was not too hard to do. It seems that gullibility is a mark of some Bahraini businessmen.

Believing to have secured another partnership and unbeknown to Hijris, both Amor and her daughter Gabrielle went to the school’s premises and removed all production equipment. Once that was done, both Amor and Gabrielle emailed their resignations to Hijris!

Hijris was bleeding money and nothing was coming into the business. Further, as his company already accepted students and received their money, Amor would not stand up to her commitment and teach those students beyond the first two lessons. On top of that, Amor changed the advert appearing in the GDN to her new coordinates without any authority from Hijris and without the conclusion of the transfer of sponsorship. Hijris wanted out.

Unfortunately in Bahrain, a citizen in most situations must sponsor a foreigner to come into the country. This sponsorship means nothing less that legal guardianship of the sponsored person. Therefore, the only way to absolve oneself off this responsibility is to either cancel the sponsorship and ask the foreigner to leave the country, or someone else has to step in by transferring that responsibility. That is exactly what I understand Hijris to have done, but in the absence of good will and the relationship turning sour, especially as Amor has stacked up debts and was blas̩ about her responsibilities Рshe somehow moved from the rented villa to another one at the prestigious Amwaj Islands at a considerably higher rent while the lease on the first accommodation was still current and paid for Рgot Hijris to the end of his tether. He reported the unauthorised removal of equipment, the owed money and their illegal stay in Bahrain to the police.

The police called her in for questioning and did their thing which ultimately resulted in her being imprisoned together with her 21-year-old daughter who had some responsibility toward the removal of equipment and over-staying the visa etc.

I have spoken to a person authorised by the South African Embassy in Riyadh who corroborated all of the above; she further confirmed that the “report” posted on mideastyouth.com and now replicated on Amor’s own blog was full of lies and fabrications.

As a parent, I was acutely distressed that Amor said that her son was left alone at home for four days without any knowledge of his mother and sister’s whereabouts. It looks like that too was a lie; a British Embassy officer took him in to her home on the same day Amor and her daughter were imprisoned and was looked after throughout their incarceration.

I wouldn’t make excuses for the way they were purportedly treated in jail. I know that we have a long road to tread in human rights in this country, and I know that the human rights societies are involved in trying to better the jail situation in Bahrain and how police and other officials treat inmates, so I shall give them the benefit of the doubt in that, but judging by the other untruths permeating the published story above, I would take what they say there with a pinch of salt.

I also have no doubt that injustices do happen against immigrant labour. I also know the preferential treatment some sectors of society get in various situations, but a person like Amor “championing” migrant labourers and calling herself now a human rights activist is a bit rich. I suggest that she has thrown this in for nothing more than a convenient red herring and for garnering more sympathy for fleecing mugs out of their hard earned cash, especially as the post referred to above provides bank accounts in which she is the legal signatory.

This was a weird episode. When I got the link originally from a friend and read the post I was infuriated and was ready to rip Hijris another hole, probably several! I was determined to get to the bottom of this simply because I do not like such injustices and usury to go unnoticed and for their perpetrators to be brought to justice. At best these kind of situations really do affect the future prosperity of this county by sullying its people and business reputation.

After meeting with Hijris, looking over all the documentation he had in his support – and they appear to be solid, talking with a person who was liaising with the South African Embassy in Riyadh about this sad affair, and with one of Hijris’ business partners and others, I am now convinced that Amor Setter (to enunciate her name as it appears in her passport, rather than the pretentious Amour Elliott-Setter she chooses to use) is nothing more than a fraud.

Amor was given a lifeline by the naivety of Hijris. She could have used that immediately to better herself and put herself back in the black financially and professionally, but unfortunately her self-delusions have once again gotten the better of her.

The moral of the story is this: business partnership needs much more diligence than even marriage, it pays to invest time in the relationship before you consummate it. And let’s not just rally behind whoever claims to be a “human rights activist” just because they say so. Ask for the proof first.

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Comments (70)

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  1. Esra'a says:

    Thanks for the clear-up Mahmood.

  2. lorena says:

    wird ! .. and scarry

  3. Redbelt says:

    As much as I trust you Mahmood, I got into the habit of listening to the other side too.

    Soo.. I’m afraid I can’t really give a constructive comment. I’d love to hear her version though.

  4. Esra'a says:

    Redbelt,

    She has already shared her version. Her contact information is listed in the post on mideast youth should you require more details than what is already given. Mahmood linked to it all.

    When we e-mailed her to ask whether or not she was okay and to support her efforts in attempting to tackle the crime of human trafficking, her e-mail to us included a demand for help in collecting BD2,000 which confused us very much.

    Sorry but what adds up doesn’t look too good and we collectively as a team (Mideast Youth) decided to keep our efforts and money away from frauds. We thank Hejris and Mahmood for making us aware of what could have been a very big legal and financial trap for us.

  5. Esra'a says:

    With Hejris’ kind permission I share with you his e-mail full of details on the unfortunate incident.

    http://www.mideastyouth.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/hejrisemail.doc

    Al Maskati of BYSHR.org has also met up wit her and later warned me that something seems to be going wrong, only days before he found out the whole story.

    So in trusting my own friends vs. strangers I must stick with my friends I’m afraid. I hope the other activists out there will look out.

  6. mahmood says:

    Good work and well done Esra’a.

  7. Capt. Arab says:

    He “Hijris” should make a film out of this.

  8. Jaffar says:

    Thank you for getting the truth Mahmood and Esra. Its good to see people like you defending and looking into whats right

  9. Anonny says:

    People come to Bahrain and talk the biz
    but they have no experience. It’s an
    insult to those of us who’ve worked hard
    for two decades or more in Bahrain – and
    there are plenty of us!

    Trust me: if you’re in it just to make
    money, you’re doing it wrong. It’s about
    art and it’s about artists.

  10. voyer says:

    My son pointed out an interest in the Gulf Daily news article regarding the academy and I had a fly on the wall opportunity to hear this lady selling herself in the flesh so to speak. I immediately formed a cautious opinion due to her enthusiasm for rather bloated talk of her expertise, which sounded like another Greek/American chap you should all watch out for in this business. Happily boasting of her and her young daughter’s massive 2 years experience and now fully fledged film aficionados, Miss Eliot was rather full of it I thought. But hey, what do I know? The grapevine reveals that no independent punters attended the shabby opening, depite the GDN claim of 200. Plus no equipment or studio facilities were apparently witnessed, other a small Sony Handicam (About BD300 in Geant). At work we just thought the entire entity was a charade but again, media-ocrity reigns here, so good if you can get it. On the other hand; she did nothing that warrants locking up in jail full stop! It’s medieval peasant law here, whereby the non too savvy police are judge, jury and gynaecolgists to boot. The system and abuse is quite disgusting, so she has every right to make a story and I sincerely hope she does. Unfortunately, the master-slave sponsorship ‘I own you’ syndrome will prevail as long as the money is here and they come searching. What right does Al Shirawi have to be able to click his fingers, feeling cheated or otherwise and have someone encarserated like a dog with no recourse? I cannot comment about Shirawi as I do not know him, but his reputation precedes him as pretty much full of it as well and street-wise, but a nice chap by all accounts. So what was he thinking of? Regardless, we should learn from this, but who cares? Go to the airport any night and watch hundreds of Asians arrive, having left home for the first time, homesick but enthusiastic thinking their lives have just turned for the better as they politely smile; until they are herded like cattle, pushed and verbally abused by uncaring arrogant handlers and most under house arrest for the next two years. I cry each time. I hate it! Still they come. Unfortunately, very few, if any can manipulate the Internet or stand up for themselves, so Bahrain and the entire area continue to get away with it. Go for it Miss Amor and big time, but I have a feeling you will expose yourself quite badly in the process. There is no smoke without fire in any Islamic land. No real judiciary system either if you are a foreigner. You will be named, but the local never is, be it rape of a young boy or a massive embezzelement; in fact the guilty are often promoted, ala Gulf Air.
    Good luck!

  11. mahmood says:

    Unfortunately, the master-slave sponsorship ‘I own you’ syndrome will prevail as long as the money is here and they come searching.

    The unfortunate thing is that not many complain about it. I mean, can you imagine an organised protest, work-stoppage, work-slowdown, demand for a union of migrant workers, a simple street march, or a flood of letters to newspaper editors could do to any of our “enlightened” countries?

    How about if they all (that’s 300,000 of them just in Bahrain) or even a sizeable number of them (say 10,000) demanded their passports back?

    Do you remember the protest march by Al-Hamad workers on Shaikh Zayed road in Dubai and its results?

    I would guess that should any of the above happen, the law will change immediately and to the better.

    But as long as “we are let away with it” then “we” will continue to treat them as “we” have for quite some time.

    That is, until “we” too willingly hand over our workers’ passports and give them the option to walk away whenever they like. Sure it will make our business a bit harder to run as we will have to find other ways of enticing our employees to stay with us, but for most of us, there is no reason to go to that extreme… yet.

    It goes both ways voyer and it definitely takes two to tango. We’re not the continuous subjugating ogres most of us are portrayed to be.

    What right does Al Shirawi have to be able to click his fingers, feeling cheated or otherwise and have someone encarserated like a dog with no recourse?

    Absolutely none! No one has a “right” to manipulate the law regardless of the situation, otherwise it will lead to chaos etc.

    The fact of the matter was that both ladies contravened the law and were incarcerated because they transgressed on the country’s laws. That’s a fact.

    If we have a problem with the law, then the proper channels should be approached and a demand made for that law to be amended, changed or scrapped. There are various ways to do this.

    However, I completely agree that there might be transgressions by police officials in treating convicts or suspects. That shows a flaw in their training, the absence of oversight on their actions and the absence of appropriate punishments if they do in fact maltreat those put in their care. That is the State’s as well as the various Human Rights organisations’ responsibility to fix. The process is unfortunately very slow as this has gone on for decades if not centuries taking the culture into consideration, but we should never excuse this kind of behaviour, if it in fact exists, but fight tooth and nail to get that fixed.

    Every human being has a full right to be treated with dignity and difference.

    I do not condone the purported actions of the police. Nor do I for an instant suggest that we do not have a problem with human trafficking as defined by various human rights organisations and the united nations and both of these should be taken care of. But, for this particular instance, it is unfortunate to read her own account and the overall perception that I get from reading what she wrote (other than unwarranted self aggrandisement) is her apparent love of her cats which far exceed that shown to her own young son or her incarcerated daughter for that matter!

    Yes, there is no smoke without a fire, and yes I might sympathise with your notion that Shirawi might be a player and a gadabout, yes he might have tried to take advantage of her or her situation and not completely innocent in this unfortunate saga, but my bone here is with the lady that not only obfuscated the facts but tried to malign my own country and society in a heinous fashion.

    Sorry, but I can’t stand for that.

  12. Esra'a says:

    Voyer, I do not think you read Shirawi’s e-mail and I strongly encourage you to do so. It explains quite clearly why she was imprisoned. She also claims that her family was almost bought for human trafficking which is what Hejris correctly refers to as “libel,” something you can actually sue for.

    I’ve always defended human rights but not when it’s an exaggerated and phony case like this. The people she planned on duping were human rights activists who are the first to stand up against migrant rights abuses and the sex trade within the region, why was she asking money from us? Can you explain this? We’re a bunch of students trying to do good, and here she is ripping us off. Why would you want her to rally against this country and damage its reputation if the faults were her own? What makes you think she knows anything at all about migrant rights abuses within the country other than her own poor and irrelevant example?

  13. ammaro.com says:

    Unfortunate for Hijris, and the rest of us in Bahrain actually. I was really looking forward to the film school, but it seems things broke down way before they got on their way.

    Anyway, I hope justice is given, and although the damage has been done already, perhaps there’s still a chance for Hijris to get back some of what he lost.

  14. mahmood says:

    Actually Ammar, Ahlia University is setting up a film school too and are well on their way of offering courses soon.

    Bahrain University offers it in their superduper MTC-built lab. I haven’t seen their course structure nor the output of their students, but it’s there to at least investigate.

    I know that others are thinking of starting similar ventures too, the more the better, and I hope that private business would start a “serious” one soon because that is very much needed.

  15. Henry says:

    Can I have a link to Shirawi’s e-mail

    Please

  16. Esra'a says:

    It’s in comment #6.

  17. Esra'a says:

    Seriously I do not think there is anything that can make me believe this absurd claim:

    My daughter and I are currently documenting our experience in prison. However, we arrived back in South Africa with a few clothes and all our possessions are still in Bahrain, including our two precious cats and all our filming equipment. We have been advised by people working in High Security in Saudi Arabia NOT to return to the country, as our lives would be put into serious danger, given what we now know about Human Trafficking in Bahrain. A few friends living in Bahrain have offered to help us get our possessions back and we hope to raise enough funds to have everything shipped back to South Africa, including our cats. We will not stop campaigning until Human Trafficking is abolished and I ask that you join us in this fight in whatever small way you can.

    The worst and most unprofessional way to fight human trafficking is via lies and irrelevant personal experiences as well as committing libel by claiming that Hejris attempted to involve them in the sex trade business.

    I encourage my fellow Bahraini activists to fight human trafficking via other means and not via some stranger who claims to be an expert in the area. With this attitude she will never be able to provide a solid and plausible documentary about this nor should we fund such unrealistic efforts.

    I also find it quite alarming that she is complaining about her lack of rights when she was living in the most prestigious area in the country throughout her stay. How very inconsiderate of Hejris to fund their pretentiously prestigious lifestyles.

  18. Esra'a says:

    Well Amour and her colleague have just sent a refutation to Hejris’ claims via e-mail.

    It’s very hard and risky to pick sides here, but our main question is whether or not this has to do with human trafficking (that is the main argument Amour is setting forth in her explanation of the story – that this is an attempt to silence them.) I just wonder this very seriously because if that is indeed true then that’s what we are interested in tackling.

  19. Abu Arron says:

    I believe Amor’s behaviour to be totally immoral and have no sympathy for her. She appears to have taken complete advantage of the situation and I sincerely hope that her actions have not damaged the potential to use other (more honest and realistic) expatriate expertise.

  20. Maroon Irras says:

    Well Amour and her colleague have just sent a refutation to Hejris’ claims via e-mail.

    Link to that please?

  21. Esra'a says:

    I am asking for permission to share it.

  22. Esra'a says:

    Someone (Janice Meyer) is already getting sued for libel because of this incident.

    So, consider me completely out of this from now on! Definitely not worth getting sued over when we merely seeked (and presented) both sides of the story. That was the only thing we should’ve done and the only thing we did do and we are not required to take an official stance on who we support – it is not worth being dragged into; I had no idea the story was this deep. To cancel an unofficial funding opportunity is also a personal choice for which we should not be attacked for.

    For those who require contracts and other information Amour welcomes you to contact her. It’s not in our place to share her personal information, we posted a link to Hejris’ full e-mail because we had access to Amour’s full blog entry and that’s what we needed to present 2 stories.

    Good luck to anyone seeking the full truth and nothing but the truth.

  23. Paul Mills says:

    There is no doubt that somerthing went amiss in this arrangement. Surely the logistics of these things are worked out before one jumps in. I do not know either party concerned but stories like this don’t reflect well on the industry. The whole story sems odd, but then we know that there are always three sides to a story, the version of either party and then the truth. But I do believe that there are way too many people in our industry who see it as a way to make a fast buck, rather than be committed to the industry as a whole. Get rich quick in our industry doesn’t usually happen, and this should be remembered by anyone who undertakes any form of business committment within the industry. I do hope that despite what has happened, the teaching of people to produce audio visual media will not stop through bad experience. The production of films (A generic term) is all about passion and not about money.

  24. Pieter says:

    I am a South African living in Bahrain.I know Hejris and had business dealings with him over the past 16 months.

    Never once has he not fulfilled his part of the deal – in fact, his only weak point may be that he is too soft, and will exceed the requirements without charging for it.

    I do not believe the version of Amor for one moment and am disgusted that the good name of Hejris has been dragged into this mess. He deserves praise, not insults

  25. Patrick says:

    Amour is well known in South Africa… Or should I say notorious.
    She owes me R10,000 for a job from 6 years ago and refuses to take my calls.
    Chameleon Casting is another victim of hers. I know them well. They are a fine outfit and very established and would never be underhanded in business.
    Good article Mahmood, and very accurate.

  26. freddy says:

    Yes , I also know amor setter , she is trash and owes our company R35 000 for rented equipment , She comes across as a lovely sincere person but deep inside is a mad lady , its scary actually

  27. joe loots says:

    yes im also from south africa and know amour elliot setter… she claims to be this film maker with years of experience but in actual fact she was selling herbalife only 3 years ago to make a living.. i have also heard some very scary stories about her , i feel sorry for her family though

  28. Johann says:

    I am with the Star newspaper in Johannesburg South Africa and I can confirm that Ms Setter has a very bad reputation here. According to my information she owes money all over the country and as for her “School” it was basically abandoned, leaving a number of students high and dry.
    If anyone has any info on her, good or bad, I would be grateful if you would send it to me at
    news@starmail.co.za

  29. hi im sure you all have heard storys that sound pretty intense and far fetched from both sides, my name is reo elliott and i am amours son, despite what iv hears from you mahmood i personally think that you must have been part of all this to know so much information not so? other wise im led to believe that you got it from the guy sponsering my mom. what you said in the top about all the needs this guy was paying for, encluding pocket money for her young son in sa isnt true, i never recieved one cent from my mom when she was over there. what i did get was a few smses, never even spoke to her on the phone because she never had cash to phone me. i think if my mom was getting mannecures and was using this guys money so much, youd think she would at least have had enough air time to phone me once in a while???to be honest with you this whole fall back has really screwed around with my life, not blaming anybody besides my mom for letting these things happen but was hoping things went smooth over there so that my mom could at least pay for my studdies next year which now have to be put on hold until i can either come up with a plan or get a loan from the bank. but taken into consideration that myself and other family members had no idea what was going on, while i was writing exams i got a phone call telling me that my mother and sister was in a arabic prison, quite a scary thought you know. any way im truely sorry for what happened, both sides im sure it was never my moms intention to {screw} him over or to get screwed over, whatever the story was.my perspective is my mom went over in good faith of a promising prospect of opening a film school in bahrain not only to make money but also to pass on her skills and knowledge of the film making industry and do what she loves best in life and thats making it on her own. so i ask all of you not to judge to quickly and just understand that she is angry and you would be to if major promises were made and broken to the ones you love. i dont want my mom to go over seas again, just want her to stay in sa with her family and be safe, i thank god that what happened only happened like it did and didnt turn out worse and no one got hurt or killed. kind regards reo elliott

  30. Gary says:

    Good grief amour. You would stoop so low as to write a mail pretending to be your son?
    Shameful.
    Look at your mail. You use the exact sam words as your website. Very grown up for a kid who can’t spell “studies”

    He’s 12 and uses words like “despite” and “perspective”? (And spells them right hehe)

    I have a very bright 13 year old son in private school and he and his buddies would never be able to put together a letter like this. Way too adult and self serving.

  31. patrick says:

    Oh puhlease amour… pretending to be your 12 year old son is scraping new lows.

    Do you think we are stupid?

    Oh yeah…forgot.. you do.

  32. patrick says:

    🙄

  33. ok look here im not 12 im 19 and my birthday is on the 9th of september 1988, obviously you havent read or heard the whole story but i even read it, if you so read the emails and story, the sponcer claims her adult son that she was apparently sending his money to. i never recieved any money from my mom and yes i am a self serving. your 13 year old son could not write a letter like that because hes not 19. my mother doesnt even know about this blog or that i even know both sides of the story

  34. patrick i was being polite, if you put your glasses on and read past your nose you would have seen im not 12 im 19

  35. mahmood says:

    Reo, you’re a brave young man and I understand your position. I wish you much luck and independence in your future endeavors. You’re more than welcome to visit this site.

    I would like you to know that I have no connection with your mother’s sponsor and never have. The first time I met him was when I called him to get his side of the story and I have that whole interview recorded. I told him immediately he sat down that if I find that he was in the wrong, then I would expose him completely by all the means I have at my disposal.

    I did not need to get involved in this. But when I read the original “report” I thought I should at least attempt to get to the bottom of things, and if I found that your mother was indeed wronged, then I would have had no hesitation whatsoever to champion her cause. Unfortunately, the events did not turn out like that.

    In any case, as far as I am concerned I am sufficiently comfortable that your mother – with all due respect to both you and her – has been rather economical with the truth.

    I wish you no ill will whatsoever, you are not involved in this and you shouldn’t be. My advice to you is to do whatever it takes to build a good future for yourself and I hope you do.

  36. ok i understand where you coming from and do agree that my mother tends to handle the truth carelessly, maybe a bit more but just guess the salcasm that everyone uses in their speech gets to me

  37. ok heres my thoughs on what happened, mom hasent spoken to me about it yet but indirectly i think my mom was miss led to believe she was going over to earn more money then she maybe expected,, had a fit and threw her toys out the cott and things turned out nasty, but honesty dont think that she intended for any of this to happen if you know what i mean, read her article and do think that its a bit of a stretched truth because her story seems a bit to intense if you know what i mean, shes making it out to be maybe triple worse than it actually was 😯

  38. but my main question is since you pretty much know the closest to the truth,,,, was my mom really having a affair with a married man

  39. mahmood says:

    Thanks Reo, I understand. But I can’t comment on your mothers private affairs as I am not privvy to them. (nor would I encourage anyone else to tread that route, either.)

  40. Amour Elliott-Setter says:

    Dear Mahmood,
    I have re-read your story about a hundred times since emailing you a letter last night and I really feel compelled to write to you again, this time on your open forum. You never once tried to contact me for comment, despite the fact that Esra’a made it quite clear that I welcomed anyone to contact me and that I furnished him with my email address. This has turned into a wild hyena feeding frenzy of the most despicable kind!
    First up, you pose the question: “if you were in a down-and-out situation and someone offered you a lifeline, would you take it?” What makes you think I was in a down-and-out situation in February this year when Hejris approached me in South Africa? I was running a small film school plus a film production company. Lie number 1. Then you go on to suggest that I am not sane. Again, a very judgmental comment to make publicly about a person whom you have never met before. You blindly take Hejris’s word for this.

    How can you claim that I am egotistical if you have never met me before? Again, you are blindly taking Hejris’s word. You say I am mired in debt, unpaid bills, theft (the woman who has claimed this untrue statement – Janice Meyer – is being sued for defamation; and you say I was given a lifeline by Hejris to start a film school in Bahrain with an “almost iron-clad assurance of making money”. Iron-clad according to whom? Hejris, no doubt. Again, you are blindly just taking his word for it.

    Hejris Al’Shirawi is no investor. An investor actually invests money into a business, ie start-up capital, working capital, etc. Hejris invested no money into the business, except for small loans he (like me) made to the company. Yes, it is true he owns and operates a related media company, Showbiz Media. But how come NOBODY at Bahrain Chamber of Commerce had EVER heard of him? He’s made statements that he runs a “highly successful company”. Surely such a company would be well-known on the island, especially to people in the private sector who are familiar with the goings-on of their own island? You say Hejris “fell upon” my company offering training very similar to what he wanted to offer back home and that I “appeared” to have the right qualifications. First up, Hejris approached me as a film production company. He had no idea I also ran a film school. It was I that suggested to him the idea of starting a film academy to grow and nurture local talent on your island.

    It is a blatant and evil LIE that I “agreed to relocate to Bahrain to offer the same course at Hejris’s school on the premise that a partnership MIGHT be considered in time.” I have three drafted contracts which Hejris failed to sign, each time coming up with some excuse or other. I would never have relocated my family, animals and all the equipment to a foreign country on a MIGHT or MAYBE. Your story suggests that my daughter and I agreed to work for free and pay our own way until the business “blossomed and became self-supporting”. How could we have afforded this if in the opening paragraph you suggest that I was “down-and-out”???? A total contradiction. Had you noticed this? You go on to say “Hejris agreed, as a matter of good faith, to pay for the transport of my equipment to Bahrain in order for them to be used in the school. He failed to tell you that I paid for the very costly design of the website from South Africa, which kept changing constantly due to Hejris never being able to stick with one thing. This kept escalating the cost, WHICH I BORE! He claims he also paid for the transport of whole wardrobes of personal effects. THIS IS A BLATANT LIE! The villa and car which Hejris paid for: this was always meant to be paid by the company. If he loaned any capital to the business, it would have been paid back to him down the line. How can you call him an Investor and then completely contradict yourself by saying he was expected to put money into the business? As for “other” expenses over the next “2 – 3 months”, Hejris never paid for a thing! I had loaned him BD300 when he was in South Africa the month before I relocated, and this he gave back to me in Bahrain. In dribs and drabs, I might add, because he kept insisting to know EXACTLY what I needed money for each time, and would literally ration it back to me! You say I demanded him to pay for “Novotel membership, hair, manicures, etc”. Again a blatant lie! Hejris, in his usual controlling manner, insisted I email him a copy of my monthly budgets. I was not obliged to do this, but to appease his sense of control and keep the peace, I did. Now he has used this against me claiming that I INSISTED/DEMANDED he pay for this stuff. I was with Showbiz Film Training Institute for exactly 1 month before resigning. Not 2 – 3 months, as he claims. I can send you proof of these dates if you like.

    Let’s back-track to the day I arrived. The offices were meant to be complete by the time I arrived on the 1st July. That means they should have been ready to walk into and work, as we had planned a launch for the 12th July. What a joke! The carpenters were still laying floor boards. After me pushing and nagging, the offices were “cosmetically” finished by the 12th July. We still had no telephones, internet or computers. All the things Hejris had guaranteed would be in place. We got telephones a week before the end of the month (all international calls barred), and by the time we resigned, there was still no internet. Despite this joking manner in which we were meant to do business, I secured 2 students, who each paid BD1080 for the 12 week course. Plus I sponsored (in other words, agreed to teach FOR FREE) a young Indian lad who desperately wanted to learn filmmaking, but did not have the finances. I will gladly give you his contact details for confirmation. Hejris was very angry when he found out that the lad was Indian, and not Bahraini and went off on a tangent about “Indian Scum”. I won’t elaborate.

    Yes, it is no secret that my production company in South Africa was in debt by the time (6 months later) that I relocated to Bahrain. Again, do you know why? Well, let me elaborate. The company had suffered financial losses at the end of last year due to an inclement weather insurance claim which I stupidly took the risk for on behalf of the client (advertising agency). I will gladly issue you with all the evidence to this effect. I ended up having to pay suppliers and film crew OUT OF MY OWN POCKET, as the company did not have the surplus funds. The same company then commissioned me to shoot another television commercial for them in March this year, slashing their budget considerably at the last minute, causing the company further financial losses. This happens all the time in our industry. Anyone who knows how the ad industry in South Africa works will attest to that. Again, I HAVE ALL THE PAPERWORK TO SUBSTANTIATE THIS! The company never recovered because I had begun making plans to relocate to Bahrain. I was made many promises, which were never fulfilled by Hejris. All the company’s creditors knew I had relocated, as most of them had the contact details of the company in Bahrain.

    Hejris fails to tell you that I resigned because he kept going back on all his promises and refused to sign the third contract presented to him. Would you work for a company for free indefinitely on the basis that YOU MIGHT BECOME A PARTNER??? Come on!

    Yes, I found another very decent, honest and straightforward businessman to enter into business with. He came HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce. He requested that Hejris release us to his sponsorship. In the meantime Hejris REFUSED to give us our passports back. Yes, REFUSED. I had to get an attorney to call him to remind him that holding passports was illegal. The next day he had the cheek to lay a charge against us at the Hidd Police Station, saying we had STOLEN HIS FILM EQUIPMENT AND WERE RUNAWAYS. Come one! Is this adding up in everyone’s minds here? What constitutes a “runaway”? And why did he claim he owned the equipment? A blatant lie. HE WAS THE ONE GUILTY OF ATTEMPTING THEFT, not us!

    In the next paragraph you say “Hejris was bleeding money and nothing was coming into the business.” In the very next sentence you say “as his company already accepted students and received money”. Total contradiction. First you say he was spending money but not receiving any, then you say the students had paid their fees. BD2160 actually. And to think he hadn’t lifted a finger for this money. Yes, not a finger. Other than get the carpenters to finish the office, which was meant to be completed by the time I arrived on the 1st July. Plus it took him an entire month to get telephone and internet lines! Very competent businessman/investor, don’t you think? Again, I have all the proof, contact me for this if you like. When I resigned he could have found another teacher. Perhaps nobody else was willing to work for free? I certainly wasn’t!

    Hejris claims I “changed the advert appearing in the GDN to her new coordinates without any authority from Hejris and without the conclusion of the transfer of sponsorship”. Another blatant lie! Hejris had issued letters of No Objection to our new sponsor, who responded with assurances that he would be taking full responsibility for us. My new sponsor approved a listing in the GDN for HIS COMPANY to offer filmmaking classes.

    We were awaiting work visas with our new sponsor, and in the meantime we had a ton of film production work on the table. Work, I might add, that actually would pay us money. You know, the stuff people live on to buy food and put a roof over their heads, pay for education and buy growing children clothes.

    He did not, at this stage, report the unauthorised removal of our own equipment. No, that he did immediately after we resigned when he laid a charge of theft against us, then demanded a settlement (read BRIBE) of BD1800 before he would return our passports. Again, I can prove this, feel free to contact me. When we agreed to pay him his bribe money, we signed an agreement, which stated that he would drop the pathetic charges leveled against us, that he would allow us to pay the “settlement” within 3 months and that there would be “no further claims against either party for the failed joint business venture”. I will gladly email you a copy of this agreement. The “owed money” he was referring to was the “settlement” we agreed to in order to get our passports back! As for our “illegal” stay in Bahrain, what a joke. He admitted to us that Immigrations had phoned him asking him to extend our visas, as we were still awaiting visas from our new sponsor. He admitted to us ON SEVERAL OCCASION that he had told them No, he wanted us jailed! The police did not call us in for questioning. They coerced us to the courthouse, saying Hejris wanted to have the “settlement agreement” signed in front of a prosecutor. For God’s sake, I have witnesses that can attest to this! I will gladly give you their contact details and you can call them yourselves. From what we were told later by a judge, Hejris presented FABRICATED evidence to the prosecutor who gave the order to have us imprisoned and deported. We were NEVER given an opportunity to present ourselves, defend ourselves against his allegations or formally charged with anything. We were thrown in jail like animals. No explanations. No phone call. Exactly like I wrote in my story. My son was left alone at home for the entire day and night, only making contact with a friend the next day! At this point he still wasn’t told that we were in jail. The British Embassy lady that took him to her home FOR A FEW HOURS lived a few doors down from us, then returned him home where he made his own arrangements to be looked after by the very friend Hejris accused me of having an affair with! Sick!

    Let’s move to the South African Embassy representative, Zane Lambert. Firstly, she is a close friend of Hejris and would obviously back up whatever he says! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. We won’t even go into the claims the South African Embassy are making! They are now being questioned about our incarceration and saying we were only in prison for 2 days, when we were in fact in prison for 7 days! Why would they lie? Or does Zane Lambert – Hejris’s friend – have more to do with this than meets the eye? How can she CORROBORATE the stuff I’ve written in my blog unless she was physically with me EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, experiencing everything alongside me? The only person you should be speaking with is my daughter, Gabrielle, who is the only person fit to CORROBORATE anything, since she was with me every second of every day!

    As I’ve mentioned to you in my letter, Mahmood, I have been involved in social causes for YEARS. I am insulted at your suggestions in your story! I have produced and personally funded MANY short films and PSA’s over the years for causes such as Female Empowerment, The fight against drug abuse, and yes, Human Trafficking! As Busac from Mideast Youth who actually SAW the film I produced for Human Trafficking at the opening.

    Now lets get to the opening. Voyer quite rightfully pointed out that the SHABBY OPENING was not well attended. Hejris has the “best event management company on the island” – his words. For someone so successful and enterprising, he couldn’t even get more than 20 people to attend the opening, then got the GDN to LIE and say there were more than 200 there! What garbage! I had personally sent out over 300 invitations via email whilst I was still in South Africa, which HEJRIS SHOULD HAVE FOLLOWED UP ON, since we had no phones or internet at the office which we were going to from 08h00 until 18h00 every day at the BBIC in Hidd. Big surprise! Hejris, as usual, never lifted a finger, hence the opening was A FLOP! That’s when I started getting very nervous about what lay ahead for us with this obviously lazy so-called partner that wanted us to work for free so he could make money for doing diddly squat!

    Voyer, I think you must have misunderstood me at the opening (if this is where you spoke with me). I have been involved in the mainstream film and television industry since 1991, having worked on dozens of local and international productions. I have produced, directed and edited my own work along the way. I think that qualifies me adequately. Unfortunately many of the people who are victims of Human Trafficking CANNOT STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES, as I have done, you are quite correct. Did Hejris really think he could throw two outspoken filmmakers in jail and expect them NOT TO TALK ABOUT IT????

    Right now I have a problem with the circumstances of our incarceration. Foreign Affairs in our country are doing a formal investigation into the situation. Believe me, I will not hesitate to let you know the outcome of this.

    As for “where there is smoke there is fire”. This applies to Hejris, who is conveniently side-stepping the truth with exaggerations and fabricated lies to make himself look like the innocent hero.

    Esra’a. I never claimed that my family was “almost bought for human trafficking”. Thos are your words. What I did say is that Hejris had every intention of USING us for Human Trafficking. In other words, his intention was to NOT PAY US to work for him for FREE. Paint it pink and call it any other sweet name, it is still HUMAN TRAFFICKING!!!!

    On the 7th September Esra’a “pulled out” after I had emailed him all the facts. I wonder why??? He admits that he didn’t realize that the story “went this deep”.

    I can also pose as sympathetic parties and post up lies on this forum. Its as easy as pie! I have contacted Johann from The Star Newspaper in Johannesburg asking him to contact me directly with his confirmation of my “bad reputation”. I will also not hesitate to sue for defamation if necessary, as I am busy doing with Janice Meyer of Chameleon Casting.

    Patrick, I challenge you to contact me DIRECTLY if you claim I owe you R10,000 from 6 years ago! amour_setter@yahoo.ca or my mobile 078 591 2044. I have been actively in the film industry for several years, why have you never contacted me before?

    Joe Loots – (nice name): You say I “claim” to be a filmmaker. What is your opinion of a filmmaker? Someone that cleans shoes or someone that produces, directs or edits film work?

    Freddy – I also challenge you to CONTACT ME DIRECTLY! If you claim I owe your company R35,000 for rented equipment, how come YOU have never contacted me before now???

    As for my son supposedly writing that stuff, I think I know who the culprit is.

    So people, before you JUDGE, CONDEMN AND PUBLICLY STONE ME, THEN CRUCIFY ME AND TRY TO BURY ME, maybe you should read between the lines and look a little closer for the truth.

    Your comments are very damaging. Think of what you are doing to me and my entire family…… Hejris has had me blacklisted (after agreeing he wouldn’t). I can therefore not return to the country to collect my personal belongings, film equipment or my animals. This forum is destroying my reputation and my entire life. How does that make all of you feel? Powerful? Satisfied? Do you enjoy being part of a campaign designed to wipe people out completely? I never gave permission for my story to be published on ANY public website to which the general public subscribes. I posted my story up on my personal profile on myspace only. It leaked to the public media and has now become a full-blown FEEDING FRENZY of the most despicable kind. Perhaps I should either pose as my friends and allies, or gather up an army in support of my cause. This is, afterall, what you encourage, is it not??????

    Kind regards,
    “The pretentious, egotistical, self-opinionated, con-artist, wanna-be filmmaker”
    Amour Elliott-Setter
    amour_setter@yahoo.ca
    +27 78 591 2044

  41. mahmood says:

    Thanks for clear things up Amor.

    From what I have read in your response I am now convinced more than ever that it is desperation falling on a shoddy deal; in other words, the whole thing is a business dispute that should have been resolved otherwise and both of you are too trusting and too naive which resulted into you falling into these self-made trap.

    As I emailed you this morning when you contacted me:

    Thank you for contacting me Amour.

    I wish you no ill will. The motivation for writing my article was to indeed find the truth in a large part and to respond to the article published by Busac. When I first read that article I wanted to immediately jump to your defence and that is exactly why I contacted Hijris as well as two other people who know him to get their feedback.

    I then contacted Hijris and laid into him. He suggested that he should come over and show me the full document trail and emails you both exchanged. On investigating those I was sufficiently convinced that the story posted by Busac contained a number of untruths, it was those that I concentrated on and highlighted after I have had a chance at looking at your own sites and counter-checking all the claims.

    I do realise that Hijris might not be a completely honest man, I realise that your imprisonment might have been a reactionary vendetta against you which you readily fell into.

    Overall, it is clear; however, that this is a business dispute that should have been handled as such. Your impregnating that with Bahrain’s alleged human trafficking through what you purported to have seen in prison only watered down the whole issue and shifted the focus from that into a different plane. While I completely understand and recognise that some forms of human trafficking does exist in Bahrain, your unsubstantiated attack on the country and its people in your response certainly put you on the wrong side of every Bahraini.

    Regardless, I value your feedback and through which I see that you might have a case against Hijris to clear your name. It should be very easy to hire a local lawyer here to start proceedings against him if you feel that there is value in pursing the matter further. You can also come back personally to supervise this, contrary to what you have been told, Bahrain does not maintain a “blacklist” as that in itself is a human trafficking measure, so you should be able to enter and leave at your leisure.

    I would – if I may – urge you to concentrate on the failed business issues rather than any other to get your name cleared. I can assure you that I shall be the first to support any effort to eradicate human trafficking or any other valid human rights issue which will help my country grow and be a responsible world citizen. But for your sake, the thing you have got to do is to get the issues cleared up.

    I shall raise consider the points you raise – all of which I must say have already been answered by Hijris with corroborative written proof – and shall try to get to the bottom of this issue. I warrant; however, that at the end of the day it will be as I asserted earlier in that they will distill down to nothing more than a business dispute which should have had other channels to resolve other than Busac blowing it completely out of proportion.

    Best regards
    Mahmood Al-Yousif

  42. voyer says:

    Been away and this is still going:
    Esra, I had read all the emails and a lot more which I ‘did not’ disclose. I have since been grilled on all aspects of this case and as irrelevant as my opinion is, I stick with Mahmood’s arbitration.
    As suspected; there is nothing wrong with Miss Setter’s general expose’ as such, but as mentioned, in doing so, she is exposing herself and her apparent rather shady dealings in the past, with knives coming out of the woodwork.
    For Miss Setter to claim ‘Human trafficking’ is so far from the issue, it has further damaged her credibility, as she expounds this as an angry rant to bolster her traumatic experience and position. Human rights is something else and Miss Setter might well have a case, so does Shirawi and a very credible and strong one at that. Prison was not the solution however and from what I believe to be accurate, it was merely reactionary to some very dubious ambitions, expectations and a probably a lot of misunderstanding. Bahrain has light years to go before this sort of common occurrence can be solved in a mature, reasonably quick legal manner. Miss Setter will not change it no matter what publicity she achieves and Shirawi doesn’t need to.
    My point has little to do with who was to blame, it has to do with the consequences and the ability of an individual, (Bahraini in most cases) whether using the ‘system’ rather than fictitious, so-called ‘written in stone’ laws, or by virtual word of mouth, is able to (un)solve an issue in this manner. Likewise Miss Setter did not do her homework before she assumed she could mitigate her actions here as if she were in South Africa. The global village has not reached the Middle East yet.
    To reiterate; someone being deported in the time it takes to drive to the airport, or marched off to prison without as much as a tampon or toothbrush, let alone a word in defense, happens everyday here; but not so often with um! er! ‘white people’. Besides, if the situation was ‘one law for all’ and written in stone, human trafficking would never be an issue anyway.
    Oh! Mahmood is correct; the ‘Blacklist’ does not officially exist any more, along with the N.O.C., but the stone tablets have been mislaid somewhere, so make sure you have a few quick changes of undies to hand if you arrive at the airport as it’s a long flight back and a real bummer if you have to wait there until the next one.
    Now what about these animals that have been mentioned, where are they now? Who is taking care of them? Are we talking about a horse, a dog, a cat or what? Mahmood, can we start a tread about these poor innocent mammals? (Or snakes or whatever). If my pet were left to fend for itself because of some dispute like this, I’d bring Rambo and United Nations down on your heads.

  43. Amour Elliott-Setter says:

    Lovely guys! Its so nice to hear men defending women! Isn’t it strange that this often happens? Sexism at its height, I’d say. But anyhow, believe what you want to. We went through a very traumatic ordeal, which could have been completely prevented. Hejris did not honor any of our agreements, that is fact. Throwing us in jail was outrageous. And Hejris knows that he admitted to us he had us imprisoned. But of course he will deny this and try to make himself look good. This is a lot more than “a soured deal”, I can assure you. But continue, kind men. Continue. The human race just gets uglier and dirtier by the day…..
    From that totally pretentious, egotistical bitch that you all love to hate (you know, the onle that is a wanna-be filmmaker and knows nothing about making movies?)
    Yes, me.
    Amour Elliott-Setter

  44. Amour Elliott-Setter says:

    Oh, yeah, forgot to mention. Not one of the supposed people I owe money to have come forward to identify themselves. Just goes to prove.

  45. U can like to think I’m stupid. I an NUT!

  46. gaby says:

    those who want the real truth call me on 083 940 3405. i am amors daughter…
    mamoods article is a fake. it is in fact the email that hejris sent to my family. i dearly hope none of you are narrow minded enough to believe his lies.

  47. mahmood says:

    I think I should also add “Classic symptoms of denial” to this post. Googlers will be thrilled!

    Now to save the two ladies further embarrassment, I shall refrain from further replies. The full stories are available and linked and people can make their own minds as to what happened.

  48. Patrick says:

    mamoods article is a fake.

    MUHAHAHAHAHA!

    Classic!

  49. gaby says:

    A few corrections:

    Firstly, my mother had some debt in south Africa- those who she owed money to were well aware of her moving to Bahrain and understood she would settle outstanding accounts as soon as she could. She did not “run away”.
    Secondly… hejris agreed to go into partnership before we relocated. It was never a maybe. My family would not have left South Africa for a maybe. I was present at some of the meeting concerning the partnership, so I should know better than anyone here what was really going on. Hejris gave us many excuses as to why he had not signed the agreement yet, and after nearly two months of staling we realized we had been conned. The last and final agreement draughted was overseen by his other business partner Ralph, who said it was not an unreasonable agreement at all. Yet still hejris refused to sign. He wanted us to be his employees-plain and simple. Of course we resigned. We did not come all this way to make someone else a lot of money and walk away with peanuts for all our hard work!
    As for hejris paying for wardrobes full of luxuries! What a load of shit!!! We came here with some of our own funds, as well as money we brought into the film school from marketing- we went to novotel a total of 2 times during our time in Bahrain-paid for by ourselves! We never had a gym membership either. I am disgusted by the lies being told here and I’m not even half way through the “article”!!!
    We NEVER EVER once went for a manicure either! I fucking wish!
    That I’m afraid is more in league with hejris’s whore girlfriend…
    Thirdly…the creditor who contacted hejris (the only 1) is called Janice Meyer. Her account was R 6000, 00. About 300 BHD….my goodness! What a lot of debt hey???
    She is subsequently being sued for deformation of amour’s character as she had no legal right to involve all those she did with a bill that was owed by The Excellence Factory, and not by my mother personally…that is why she had her business listed as PTY LTD in the first place!
    After hejris refused to sign the third and finally agreement, we resigned and collected our filming equipment from the office. Not the other way round as suggested on this thread.
    Hejris does not know how to manage a business properly. He said (I quote) “I will not wake up before 10am in the morning, after which my girlfriend and I read the gossip in the papers before starting our day”
    That in itself showed us that he was the wrong person to be going into business with as we are used to working hard and long to make ends meet in South Africa!
    The “person” from the South African embassy is none other than Zane Lambert- one of hejris’s very close friends. Of course she would back him up! As for the unauthorised removal of our own equipment…who the fuck gives hejris the right to lay a false claim that the equipment was his own??? For gods sake!!! How dim witted can a person be??
    As for my brother being taken into care by a British officer…yet another lie. He was in fact being looked after by a close friend of ours and not by hejris as he had claimed to authorities.
    Being in jail was exactly as my mother described. No salt needed. The judicial as well as human rights situation in Bahrain is a down right joke!
    As for being an activist-what is wrong in standing up for what you believe? I heard those girls’ stories-each and ever one of them was conned in some way by Bahrainis.
    As for the account mentioned- it is my personal account-which amour has NO signing power over. Another lie.
    We have our proof in the form of various documents signed by hejris. I have then locked safely away. Even the one he signed saying we would depart in peace and that he had no objection to us moving sponsors and that he would drop any false charges he laid against us…as it happened- he never kept up his end of the bargain yet again, and instead threw his toys out the cot like a three year old. As I said earlier-please feel free to call me if you want the real truth. As the only person with my mother through all this I know better than anyone what really went down.
    As for abandoning her school here- Michelle Scheiss taken over once amour had finished the remaining courses. No students were left high and dry!
    As for all those who were disgusting enough to say such crass and rude things about my mother-Shame on you. Yes she sold herbalife at one time…don’t sit here and truly believe that your lives are so damn brilliant! Surely you have been down and out at some point in you lives? The fact remains that amour has fought her way again and again to stay above water, and I find it despicable that anyone thinks of her as trash! She has made ever decision based on what she feels to be best for her family. Yes she has made a few mistakes along the way- that’s what what makes us human!
    Oh..ps
    Reo is 19 years old gary! And he did write it himself by the way.

    so ja…believe what you wanna believe. i know the truth even if you dont.

  50. mahmood says:

    So, Gaby, how do you propose that you and your mother move on in your lives now? Turn a new page and really make a good, honest attempt at making a living, or wallow in continued self pity and broken promises?

    Regardless of “what went down” in Bahrain to you both, you need to learn from this mistake and move on. You do have an option of coming back and fight it out in the courts as is your complete right and if you are really determined to do so, you can assign a lawyer remotely if you are too afraid to come back and face our “joke” of a justice system as you presume.

    Pointing fingers at everybody but yourselves and playing the victim rather than evaluating the situation dispassionately and finding where the fault really lay would not solve any of your problems.

  51. My goodness Gaby. I think you just let the cat out the bag.
    If this note is the best you can do I feel quite confident now that you and Amour are as Hijris says you are.
    What a pair of nana’s you both seem to be.

    Get on with your lives for heaven’s sake… I can see now how you two ended up with all the drama!

    At least South Africa is in the know now. I’m sure that Herbalife will give her another chance? It can’t be all that bad. It’s a fabulous product.

    Give it a go!

    You two are giving SA a bad name out there. Please stop replying already, you are making us all look like retards!

  52. gaby says:

    if you believe all this shit-then you are the real nana. we have been back for 3 weeks now and are trying our best to pick up and move on. You dont know me-therefore what give you the right to put us in the box that hejris has? just because my mother sold herbalife once apon a time doesn’t make her bad or less qualified at what she now does. you can’t honestly sit here and say that you have never fallen apon hard times in your life?
    I dont feel we are giving south africa a bad name. we are simply telling the truth-whether you believe it or not is beside the point. the only people who really have a clue what happened were those dirrectly involved.
    if you feel like a retatd that is your choice, not mine. We all went over there with the best intentions at heart. We were lied to and treated badly….so sorry if that made us feel hurt or angry! geez!
    what pissed me off the most was finding this site full of people bad-mouthing and talking shit about my mother. would you not defend your mother? Yes- she has made her fair share of mistakes in life- we all have. but to say that she is trash and a con artist and make out like she wakes up every morning plannning to hurt people is totally unreasonable and crude!
    we have learnt big lessons from this. we have also become closer as a family. now we DO just want to continue with our lives in peace. its sites like this that make it that much harder for us. so think about what you are really trying to achieve here. we just want to be left alone. the truth will come out eventually and then alot of you will be eating your words.
    ciao

  53. mahmood says:

    Gaby, good luck with getting on with your life. I wish you all the best. I believe that there is enough material on this site and others – your mother’s included – to get sane people to make up their own minds as to what actually transpired.

    However, with posts by your mother classifying us all as terrorists because of her own brought on bad experience does not bode well for whatever future awaits your mother. I suspect that she is in desperate need of psychiatric counselling to get in touch with reality, if she ever was in touch with it in the first place.

    All I see from her is continued vitriol and incoherence. I hope you don’t join her down that path. I must say judging by your two posts that you have already taken the tentative steps to do so and I do hope for your sake that you will see the reason of turning back, buckling up and striking it on a more successful route.

    Good luck and good bye.

  54. Arif says:

    Hi mahmood…
    i have just completed my course in mass communicaton in india..and i had made a small movie wid my frends wthere b4 leavin..i got highly intrsted in makin movies…
    then on myspace, amour contactd me, tellin me tht she was openin a film academy in bah and invited me to come to the opening launch…and as i wanted to go further in film makin, i went to the opening launch…it was disgraceful as the public was just sum 15-20 ppl and basically it was a flop show..then i saw the fees for the course and it blew my head off as it was so bloody expensive..i told amour and hejris tht i cant afford such a course..then amour contactd me and told me tht she wud sponosr my course completly..tht was maybe a strike of luck…

    aftr 2 classes i found out tht amour was demandin too much..and she couldnt b contacted…

    as amour is in my friends list on my social website..she told her side of the story…
    and accordin to wat ive herd…she is pretty believable…

    now i have both the stories…from both the sides..and im completly confused on who is rite! ❓ ❓ ❗
    and from a few stories i have herd abt hejris, not from amour but from the market…amour is lookin like the victim here..

  55. mahmood says:

    Thank you for your feedback Arif. It took me a while to understand what you are saying, but I got it in the end. My pidgin Internet is not very good I’m afraid. But I guess that’s what they’re teaching now in Mass Communications degrees?

    Bitchin’!

    😯

  56. victoria says:

    Wow ! Amour and Gaby…. you are two feisty ladies !! . Seems it was a miscommunication from both sides and the fact that you hadn´t a signed contract from Hejris before entering into a partnership with him should have been a HUGE red flag !!… but hey , we all make mistakes and can be too trusting at times. I´m sure you and Hejris have learned a lot from this and may do things differently in future .

    It is time to forgive and move on, life is too short to let resentments eat away your insides ( that goes for Hejris too ). !!

    Vic
    . .

  57. Anonny says:

    With all due respect to Amor and her
    daughter, how many films have they made?
    What is their experience and does it
    enable them to open a credible film
    school? Ten years of constant film-making,
    with some award-winners on the reel, might
    just do it, but even them you need a lot
    of staff for all of the different disciplines:
    writing, research, direction, production management, art direction, cinematography, sets/location management, casting,
    processing, etc. Did they plan to teach
    all of that and more by themselves?
    Hardly credible if that was the case.

    That’s not to mention all the more
    specialised aspects: makeup, specialist
    technical roles, etc.

    The best thing for Amor and her daughter
    to do is to go and make more films, get
    a track record, get a professional and
    creative reputation. The school was a
    bad idea.

    And to all of you people sneering about
    Herbalife – you’re no better. How cheap
    you are to kick somebody like that while
    they’re down.

    I, for one would be very happy to hear in
    ten years time that:

    – Amor has made some good films and is
    known for them,

    – Bahrain is sufficiently cleansed of
    corruption that Hijris can no longer
    get people jailed without due process –
    and that his business is doing well
    enough that he doesn’t feel the need
    to behave in that way,

    – Gabrielle has learned that swearing
    like a trooper on a blog like this one
    not good for one’s image, and has perhaps
    worked with her mother on some good films.

  58. Diplomat says:

    Having read both sides of this ever growing story, I feel the only words to describe this would be divine retribution.

    Two seemingly bad people coming head to head. In the process both learning a lesson. Well, one hopes.

    First of all, Mahmood your diplomacy and fairness is commendable. Though it does seem that the depth of your investigation and the quickness to which you jump to assumptions should be worked on.

    It’s so easy for us to want to side with one party, at the expense of logic and rationality. Amour’s side of the story is filled with an air of self-pity and victimisation. Whereas Mahmoods article is slightly tilted in the opposite direction.

    I think both parties were to blame. I think, no in fact I know, Amour’s business dealings are at times unsavoury. From what I can ascertain, it seems Hejris is much the same.

    So rather than trying to blame one or the other, let us rather see it as two people, who in the greater scheme of things got what they deserved. Each other.

  59. mahmood says:

    Very succinctly and diplomatically put, Diplomat:

    So rather than trying to blame one or the other, let us rather see it as two people, who in the greater scheme of things got what they deserved. Each other.

    Which is what I maintained all along.

  60. Lance says:

    i was married to this freak of a woman.. she sold herbalife for a living which i had to sponsor .. She also tried to poison me and get me committed to a mental institution so she could take over my business.. She was extremely persistent i get a 2 million life insurance policy and im sure she was planning to kill me for it.

    The only woman im scared of … she owes me thousands of rands.. Her son Reo actually hated her guts for many years and she had to kidnap him from his father.. Her previous relationship
    before i met her ended in a gunshot being fired at her and a labor case in which she sued her ex lover for his company, At the time i believed her side but now realize that he was probably also a victim..

  61. Warren Mellick says:

    I had no idea she’d got married again. The last I heard she divorced the guy she was married to called Ryan Loader – a drug-addict fraudster who screwed two of his business partners over when he sold Foreal Records in Pretoria, scammed Sanlam Insurance out of thousands after he staged a robbery of his bike, wrote out fraud cheques for computer equipment from a shop in Brooklyn, stole electronic equipment from various people and screwed his friends over with cash. I also heard he borrowed a lot of money from her which he never paid back and she had all his creditors harassing her for his debts. If you ask me she did the right thing by divorcing that moegoe! He was nothing but trouble! But I had no idea she had married anyone called Lance….. I heard she went to the Middle East soon after she left him….

  62. Diplomat says:

    Warren you seem to have “heard” a lot. But how much do you actually know for sure?

  63. Danie says:

    Ryan Loader bought equipment from my computer shop in Pretoria using a fraudulent cheque belonging to his former business partner, unbeknown to me at the time. When I banked the cheque I was told by the bank that account had been closed for 2 years. Eventually I tracked Ryan down and he ducked and dived me for weeks before I found out where he worked and I went to his premises to collect the goods he’d bought from me. So I have personal experience of this fraudster! He is a real scum-bag, and his ex-wife did the best thing by divorcing him. I wonder how many other people he wrote out fraudulent cheques for!

  64. Peter says:

    I did some graphic design work for Ryan Loader three years ago and have still not been paid! He ducked and dived me for months and always promised to pay but never did. When he sold Foreal Records he left Miggs (the partner he sold to) with over R100,000 debt – which he never told the dude about! Poor Miggs had to fight off creditors who threatened to close down the business he bought from Ryan for a substantial amount of money. I knew Ryan personally – he is a drug-addict and bullshitter of note! I don’t know what the woman saw in him. When my girlfriend first met him she thought he was very charming… I guess thats what she saw in him.

  65. Someone says:

    Two comments left mere minutes after each other, in which the exact same expression is used “ducked and dived”. I smell a rat.

  66. mahmood says:

    yes I agree, and it’s time that this topic is closed.

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