This journey was very special to me. For the first time in my life I tried to do something without asking my parents permission. They’ve obviously heard about the project and they found some topics upsetting, but I decided to listen to my heart and try to highlight on people who really need help. I also hope my project can be an eye-opening and people in this region will finally realize what are their rights. I learnt from this project that people here are actually well educated and they want to make a change in the world but fear stops them and they became desperate. I hope I can create a very touching documentary that can aware people about what is really going on in the Arab world. I really feel proud and encouraged while working in this project because I know I’m breaking a border set borders set by politicians. Even after graduation, I want to always highlight on the people who are left in the shadows and I want their voices to be heard. I never want to stop helping and inspiring others to speak up and fight for their rights.
I interviewed different people from different backgrounds.
Our neighbour, our housemaid, my father, my sister, my friends, my aunt, my mother’s friend, a Syrian refuge, a 10 years old child.
my aim was to collect as much information as possible and to explore all points of views.
The struggle I found was finding someone who is brave enough to critisize Qatar, the other people were to scared about critisizing their governments and decided not to say everything.
documentary: Beyond the blockade
If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. — Mark Twain
Politics: power, focused, leadership, servants, rules, laws, system, decision-making, obligation, war, theft, horror, torture, killings, blood, execution, oppression, injustice, cruelty, rot, immorality, decay، extermination, destruction, consuming, orphans, widows, injury, mental illness, terror, fear, worry, threat, wealth , sassy, bossy, glamorous, danger.
I view politics in a different perspective. I believe politics makes us dumb, they argue, crippling our ability to think critically about the choices before us. And politics makes us mean and it makes us hate each other. For example the blockade, Qataries lost all the love and respect they carried for their neighbours in the 3 GCC countries. The tweets in Twitter are a good example of how politics ruined the relationship between their citizens and citizens of other countries.
The use of social media in politics including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube has dramatically changed the way people express their feelings towards politicians: MORE FREEDOM!
Most people are expressing hatred and anger towards their leaders so openly.
These are the vocabulary they used: Pure hate and disrespect.
the question here is why.
Why do they hate their leader? what makes a good leader to them? why? who?
I’m sure if I asked this question to Arab people, I will hear more anger from them. This is something I’m planning to explore in my next project, unfold their emotion, free their feelings.
What makes a good politician?
Why are most politicians corrupt?
What do the citizens really think about their leaders?
What scared them from expressing their feelings?
Do they have the right to criticize their leaders? how? why? what is the religious point of view?
First I had to research more about documentaries, what makes a good film?
What makes a good documentary film? I discovered that the essential element of a good documentary is simply, the story. The audience must have an intellectual and emotional tie to the film. The audience must have a “pull” to get to the end of the film, not an excuse to get away from it.
The story must be found and that is not always easy. It’s the single component that the film hinges upon. Once the story is identified, the filmmaker has to compose it accurately. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Here are some components of a good documentary film I found after researching:
- The people who wield the power, influence and information are identified and become a part of the film. The filmmaker must remain impartial and be open minded enough to present all sides of the story.
- A well edited film allows for a more unprejudiced approach. Each person or subject that is identified brings a unique focus to the film and requires a voice that is impartially heard.
- A good documentary raises more questions than answers. There is a myth that a good documentary film serves as proof or the ultimate explanation of something. Even if audience members are left pondering at the end of the film credits, that can be an excellent outcome.
- Film tells the truth even though the people in documentaries do not always do so. It is not necessary that they are publically called out during the film. Good documentaries can contrast content from many sources. The viewer serves as the juror. In well made documentaries the camera is the great truth teller. The viewer is able to easily figure out who is telling the truth. And in serving as a juror the viewer is often spellbound to the screen.
Once the story, structure and interviews are set the filmmaking process must be considered. The technical qualities of a film can move it from the great to the forgettable ranks.
There are a variety of elements which are required among the documentaries of greatness.
- The filmmaker will need to have high quality technical equipment which includes microphones, video camera, and editing equipment. Professional technicians are the best bet if a true film of quality is the desired outcome.
- Live action shots are imperative to a good documentary. It shows scenes as they are actually happening in real time. These shots will serve as evidence of truth or deceit for the film’s viewers.
- Still shots serve as filler between scenes. They are important to good documentaries because they do serve as credible transitions between live action and interviews. They are never to be considered “fluff” filler but should be relevant people, information or places.
- The soundtrack or music is very important. It sets the tone for a good documentary. The right music must be chosen and then edited by musical editor. This moves the documentary film one step closer to greatness.
A documentary I found successful and inspired me:
Brimstone & Glory (Trailer ) #1 (2017) | Movieclips Indie
My word was inspired by the documentary “Brimstone & Glory” created by the director Viktor Jakovleski. This documentary takes us to Tultepec, Mexico, for the National Pyrotechnic Festival, and you can bet there’s a lot of spectacular visuals in a film focused on fireworks. Jakovleski does a good enough job making us feel like we’re actually there, sometimes climbing up high towers filled with sparkling pinwheels thanks to GoPro cameras, and the danger of some of the pyrotechnics can induce some anxiety.
The trailer was the most inspiring to me:
Links and relationships:
I collected all the audios I need for my documentary and I’m currently aiming to shoot imagaries that are related to my topic. \
Another creative lyric video I found inspiring:
Elvis Costello & The Roots – “Walk Us Uptown” (Official Music Video)
Exploring and researching:
When did the crisis in Syria start?
Anti-government demonstrations began in March of 2011, as part of the Arab Spring. But the peaceful protests quickly escalated after the government’s violent crackdown, and armed opposition groups began fighting back.
By July, army defectors had loosely organized the Free Syrian Army and many civilian Syrians took up arms to join the opposition. Divisions between secular and religious fighters, and between ethnic groups, continue to complicate the politics of the conflict.
What is happening to Syrians caught in the war?
The war has killed more than 500,000 people in the almost seven years since it began. Crowded cities have been destroyed and horrific human rights violations are widespread. Basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse.
The U.N. estimates that 6.1 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, well over half of the country’s pre-war population of 22 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders.
The situation in Syria went from bad to worse when outside parties became involved in the conflict in the fall of 2015. As conflict intensifies, our teams on the ground have seen an increase in the number of civilian casualties and families forced to leave their homes in search of safety.
In December 2016, fighting in Aleppo City intensified and the warring parties came to an agreement to evacuate East Aleppo. People, including some of our own team members, were forced to flee their homes and the city they had lived in all their lives, leaving their belongings behind. We met those who made it out with critical supplies in areas of northern Syria. Now, even more Syrians have been displaced.
What is happening in Eastern Ghouta, Syria?
Some of the worst violence we’ve seen over the course of the crisis is taking place right now in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region, just northeast of the capital of Damascus.
Eastern Ghouta has been under siege since 2013. Some 400,000 people are trapped here, with limited resources and no way to flee the conflict.
In the past few days, escalating violence has left more than 400 people dead and at least 1,400 injured.
Each day, the situation grows more dire, and residents have little to no access to food, medicine or sanitary supplies. This year’s hard, cold winter has made conditions even worse. Bread prices have skyrocketed to almost 22 times the national average, and the region is suffering from some of the highest levels of child malnutrition reported throughout the crisis.
Relentless conflict is still ongoing, and the need for a ceasefire is urgent.
What is happening in Raqqa, Syria?
Raqqa is located in northern Syria, along the northeast bank of the Euphrates River. Prior to the war, it had a population of around 220,000, making it Syria’s sixth-largest city.
ISIS captured the city in 2013 and one year later declared it as its capital in Syria. Approximately 200,000 people fled in the battle for Raqqa and displacement camps are overflowing.
In October 2017, the city was retaken from ISIS, but the human crisis is far from over. The UN estimates that 80 percent of the city is now uninhabitable, water sources have been damaged by the conflict and there are no health services available in the city. Families are eager to get home or to find more permanent shelter. No one wants to spend this winter under a tent.
Where are Syrians fleeing to?
More than 6.1 million people have fled their homes and remain displaced within Syria. Some 1.8 million of whom were newly displaced in 2017 — approximately 6,550 people displaced each day. They live in informal settlements, crowded in with extended family or sheltering in damaged or abandoned buildings. Some people survived the horrors of multiple displacements, besiegement, hunger and disease and fled to areas where they thought they would be safe, only to find themselves caught up in the crossfire once again. Across northern Syria, we are seeing that 20-60 percent of the population is made up of people who have had to flee their homes — many of them more than once.
More than 1.5 million Syrian refugees are living in Jordan and Lebanon, where Mercy Corps has been addressing their needs since 2012. In the region’s two smallest countries, weak infrastructure and limited resources are nearing a breaking point under the strain.
In August 2013, more Syrians escaped into northern Iraq at a newly-opened border crossing. Now they are trapped by that country’s own internal conflict, and Iraq is struggling to meet the needs of Syrian refugees on top of 2.6 million internally displaced Iraqis — efforts that we are working to support.
More than 3.3 million Syrian refugees have fled across the border into Turkey, overwhelming urban host communities and creating new cultural tensions.
Many Syrians are also deciding they are better off starting over in Europe, attempting the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece. Not all of them make it across alive. Those who do make it still face steep challenges — resources are strained, services are minimal and much of the route into western Europe has been closed.
How are people escaping Syria?
Thousands of Syrians flee their country every day. They often decide to finally escape after seeing their neighborhoods attacked or family members killed.
The risks on the journey to the border can be as high as staying: Families walk for miles through the night to avoid being shot at by snipers or being caught by warring parties who will kidnap young men to fight for their cause.
How many Syrian refugees are there?
According to the U.N., more than 11 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes — enough people to fill roughly 200 Yankee Stadiums. This includes about 5.3 million refugees who have been forced to seek safety in neighboring countries, out of a total 5.5 million Syrian refugees worldwide.
How many Syrian refugees are children?
According to the U.N., almost half of all Syrian refugees — roughly 2.6 million — are under the age of 18. Most have been out of school for months, if not years. About 36,000 school buses would be needed to drive every young refugee to school.
The youngest are confused and scared by their experiences, lacking the sense of safety and home they need. The older children are forced to grow up too fast, finding work and taking care of their family in desperate circumstances.
One demographic that is largely overlooked is adolescents. Through Mercy Corps’ extensive work in and around Syria, we continuously witness young adults and adolescents in crisis.
The consequence of forgetting the unique needs of this next generation is they will become adults who are ill-equipped to mend torn social fabric and rebuild broken economies. Investing in adolescents now will yield dividends for decades to come for the peace and productivity so desperately needed in Syria and the region.
Why Assad Refuses to Step Down???
1. Good Friends
Assad currently controls 25 percent of Syrian territory, and he’ll hold on to it as if his life depends on it—because it probably does. The territory he still commands is confined to large population centers on the coast, but that’s enough as long as he continues to receive support from abroad. Russia hopes to secure a military foothold and protect its access to a deep-water port in the Mediterranean, the only Russian port outside the former Soviet Union, by sending Assad half a dozen T-90 tanks, 15 howitzers, 35 armored personnel carriers and 200 marines in recent weeks.
2. The Devil You Know…
But it’s not just Russian or Iranian backing that ensures Assad will remain in power—it’s the fact that Assad is the lesser of two evils, and the West can’t afford any more power vacuums in the Middle East. In geopolitics, as in life, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. ISIS now controls more than 50 percent of Syrian territory; it is without a doubt the best-funded and best-equipped terrorist organization the world has ever seen, taking in more than $1 million a day via extortion and taxes. Roughly three dozen jihadist groups across 18 nations have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State; more than 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 50 nations have joined their cause. Assad is a cruel despot, but he’s a regional one and a known quantity. ISIS still has the potential to go global.
3. The Many Forms of Tragedy
As Syria’s civil war rages on, the Syrian people will continue to pay the price. More than 200,000 Syrians have been killed in the war to date; 4 million people have left the country and another 7.6 million Syrians have been forced from their homes but remain inside Syria. In total, that’s more than half the population on the move since 2011. The U.S. equivalent (as a share of the total population) of that demographic shock: The eviction of every citizen from California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina.
But even if the civil war were to end tomorrow, these people don’t have much of a country to return to. Since 2011, the Syrian economy has contracted by more than 50 percent, and the Syrian pound has lost 80 percent of its value against the dollar. The human costs of war speak for themselves—add the economic costs, and you see a gutted country, whether Assad stays or goes.
4. A War on Two Fronts
To fight ISIS, Iran has given Assad more money, and Russia has given him more weapons. But while Western countries desperately want to topple ISIS, they aren’t willing to do so at the cost of propping up Assad. The U.S. tried to train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS in their stead, but after investing $500 million dollars, they only have “4 or 5” American-trained rebels left to show for it. That’s not a misprint.
Given their steadfast opposition to helping Assad, Western powers are now taking a divide-and-conquer approach to ISIS. That’s why they’ve allied themselves with Iraqi Kurds, with the U.S. pledging nearly $180 million in military support. The goal is to weaken ISIS by forcing it to fight a war on two fronts. But even this plan has big problems—Western forces haven’t been giving the same support to Kurds who are waging the same war against ISIS from the Syrian side.
5. Why Turkey Matters
Why? Because Turkey won’t allow it. As the only NATO member that shares a border with Syria and Iraq, Turkey is critical to any war effort in those countries. So far Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown more interest in bombing Kurdish rebel groups than ISIS fighters. By the end of August, Turkey had launched 300 airstrikes against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) compared to 3 against ISIS. Turkey has a complex and violent history with the region’s Kurdish separatists; Erdogan plans to use the war next door to try to revive his political fortunes and restore his party’s absolute majority with elections later this fall. But the party’s lead has inched up just 0.5 percent since Turkey’s June elections, though there is time left before Turks head to the polls again in November.
Turkey highlights the fundamental problem with the war in Syria: every actor has his own agenda. Turkey wants to fight Kurds, Iran wants to beat back Syrian rebels backed by Saudi Arabia, the US is focused on ISIS, and Putin gains political ground by “standing up to the West.” Alliances and rivalries overlap, with just one clear winner: Bashar al-Assad. He may be fighting ISIS for control of Syria, but it’s the rise of ISIS that’s keeping him in power.