Al Jazeera World

Oct 15 2020 46 mins 14k

A weekly showcase of one-hour documentary films from across the Al Jazeera Network.

Rim Banna: The voice of Palestine | Al Jazeera World
Oct 15 2020 46 mins  
This is the story of a much-loved Palestinian singer-songwriter whose life encompasses creativity, artistic success, political activism and personal tragedy. Rim Banna was born into a creative family in Nazareth in 1966. Her mother was the Palestinian poet Zouhaira Sabbagh and she was raised listening to famous artists like Fairuz. At 16, she was deeply affected by the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres, something that would later heavily influence her music. She studied at a conservatory in Moscow and her own compositions often put Palestinian poems, including her mother’s, to music. Banna began her career recording Palestinian children’s songs, but her powerful and emotional music ultimately reached an international audience. In 2003, she sang on the Lullabies from the Axis of Evil album, through which female singers from the Middle East, Norway, North Korea, Cuba and Afghanistan sent an anti-war message to a world embroiled in the Iraq War. Banna’s music is poetic and emotional; her political message uncompromising. She often performed in colourful embroidered gowns and her songs focused on Palestinian suffering, especially in the West Bank. She was a genuine artistic talent, but her life was tragically cut short. In 2009, Banna was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a nine-year battle with a terminal illness, she died on March 24, 2018. Thousands attended her funeral in Nazareth where she was born 51 years before.

A Hard Road from Home: Journalists and Actors | Al Jazeera World
Sep 25 2020 45 mins  
No two journeys of migration are the same. In this film, we follow four people who left their native countries, each for different reasons, to build new lives in Spain. Mae Azango is a journalist who fled Liberia in 2006 but eventually returned home six years later. A teenager in the Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, she was eight months pregnant when her father was beaten to death. Since returning, she has written in vehement opposition to female genital mutilation. While editors initially ignored her work, her persistence has now attracted several international awards. In 2016, journalist Milthon Robles fled his native Honduras where dozens of reporters have been killed covering the widespread gang violence. “They kidnapped me and tried to kill me several times,” he says, “specifically for my work as an investigative journalist.” He and his wife sought refuge in Spain, where he has received support from a global network that helps writers-in-exile. David Laurent is an actor from Cameroon who has lived in Spain for the past six years. He arrived after a perilous dinghy journey from Morocco that he still finds hard to talk about. Today in Barcelona, David works with Theatre Without Papers, performing original plays with an African influence. Hamid Karim is an established Algerian actor who has lived in Spain for 30 years. He loves his work and shares his passion for drama with a new generation – but is frustrated by being constantly typecast as a terrorist. Beyond their individual journeys, all four have a common desire to give something back to their communities, by mentoring young people and trying to inspire others along the way.

A Place of Refuge: Rome and Amsterdam | Al Jazeera World
Sep 10 2020 46 mins  
In recent years, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled conflict, poverty and human rights abuses at home, arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Despite the difficulties they face, many have built successful new lives. Now in Italy, Olumide Bobola fled Nigeria over fears for his safety in 2016. He crossed the Sahara, surviving for three days on nothing but glucose drops, and after a perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing, arrived in Sicily. Today he is a singer in Rome, performing a repertoire of Italian songs. He was "adopted" by established traditional Italian musician, Stefano Saletti, and the two now share musical influences and the same creative musical journey. "I call Italy my house," says Bobola, "but Nigeria is my home." Nosakhare Ekhator, also from Nigeria, fell into the hands of people traffickers in Libya where he was held in a room with 120 others. One in five of those detainees perished. Now also in Rome, the young clothing designer has learned Italian and staged his first fashion show in the shadow of the famous Colosseum. In the Netherlands, singer Samira Dainan was born in Amsterdam to a Moroccan father and a Dutch mother. After her father's sudden death, she chose to take his remains back to Morocco for a large family funeral. She now believes that sharing grief in her home country gave her the support she needed to carry on living in the Netherlands. Journalist Linda Bilal grew up in Aleppo, Syria where she reported extensively on the Syrian conflict. She arrived in the Netherlands in 2015 and now writes for news outlets and is a regular Amnesty International magazine columnist. The challenge for each of them has been how to integrate into a new home, while at the same time staying in touch with their roots, culture and religion.

The Last Shepherds of the Jordan Valley | Al Jazeera World
Jul 13 2020 48 mins  
Stretching from Mozambique in south-east Africa to Syria in the Middle East, the Great Rift Valley is home to the world's lowest city, Jericho, which was established over 10,000 years ago. Farmers and shepherds have tended flocks and lived off the land in the Jordan Valley for thousands of years. But Israel's continued occupation of the region since 1967 is threatening people's traditional way of life, restricting Palestinian development on the land - and Bedouin homes in the area have repeatedly been razed. Some 56,000 Palestinians live in the part of the valley that lies in the West Bank, many of who are Bedouin living in temporary communities, always moving with the herds. Their determination to remain on the land is becoming ever more difficult in the face of constant attempts by the Israeli military and settlers to drive them off their land. With water resources and agricultural potential, the valley would be the breadbasket and water source of any future Palestinian state. The Jordan Valley has some of the most fertile land in all of the occupied territories. Arable farming is a lifeline for many rural Palestinian communities, yet Israel controls most water resources in the area. While making life difficult for local communities, Israel has also encouraged the spread of settlements - regarded illegal under international law - across the occupied West Bank for over five decades. The number of Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley has nearly doubled from 2011 to 2018. Israeli settlers already use the vast majority of the area's water resources and an increased influx would further threaten the living conditions of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, limiting their opportunities for economic growth and pushing the people living there into greater poverty. "The Israeli policy is to drive us away, not to aid our survival here," says Abu Saqr, one of the Jordan Valley residents struggling to stay on in the face of Israeli policies of home demolitions and arrest. His home has been destroyed three times. Between 2011 and 2018, 458 housing units were demolished by the Israeli Army in the Jordan Valley districts of Tubas and Jericho. During that same period, three of Abu Saqr's eight sons and Abu Saqr himself spent time in Israeli prisons. Since then, Israel's policy on settlements has also hardened and in 2018, it announced plans to expand 14 of the 20 existing illegal settlements and build three new ones, effectively doubling the Israeli settler population. Local campaigners like Sirene Khudairi, have consistently protested against Israel's human rights violations in the Jordan Valley; and her activities led to her detention for nine months. "I get so upset when I see this well nearly empty and the settlement draining our water to turn their areas into a Garden of Eden," says Sirene, during one of her visits to Abu Saqr. Since this film was originally made in 2011, Sirene has got married and moved to Bethlehem to start a family. Those like Abu Saqr and Sirene are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There's Israel on one hand, and the Palestinian Authority - whom they constantly have to pressure to support their cause – on the other. The PA does its best to protect Palestinian farming communities in the valley and considers itself the last line of defence for any future, self-sufficient Palestinian state. But unfortunately, the Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C (under the terms of the 1993 Oslo Accords), which falls under full Israeli military control. This film documents the struggle of Palestinian shepherds and farmers in the Israeli-occupied Jordan Valley as they try to cling on to an age-old way of life.

Saudi Women: Reform or Repression? | Al Jazeera World
Jun 18 2020 46 mins  
Just how free are women in Saudi Arabia today? The Saudi government has said it supports the empowerment of women and young people. While there have been reforms, including lifting the ban on women driving in June 2018, the arrest and detention of women speaking out against the government appear to have continued. Al Jazeera World looks at the individual cases of five Saudi women currently in detention, or who have fled the country following apparent harassment for their political views. It asks whether Saudi Arabia is publicly championing the rights of women while privately punishing those who challenge the status quo. In this film, the family of one detainee makes serious allegations of torture during her imprisonment, while others give testimonies about random arrests and arbitrary detention at Dhahban prison near Jeddah. According to Human Rights Watch, and following international pressure, the Saudi Human Rights Commission carried out an investigation into conditions at Dhahban and found no evidence of torture. This film examines the consequences of activism in Saudi Arabia, hearing from women detainees and international human rights organisations, as well as seeking responses from those at the heart of decision-making within the country. - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

Morocco's Bollywood Dream | Al Jazeera World
Jun 10 2020 45 mins  
Asked to pick a country where people are passionate about Indian cinema, few might choose the North African Kingdom of Morocco. Bollywood came to the country in the 1950s, where it was embraced for its glamour, dance, romance and pure escapism. There is no obvious explanation for the connection, although it may have started when Ibrahim al-Sayeh began dubbing films - including Indian cinema - into the local Arabic dialect, Darija. Now, the most devoted fans have decorated their homes with Bollywood paraphernalia and perform Hindi songs at themed events - and there is sometimes an Indian section at the annual Marrakech International Film Festival attended by well-known actors and directors. Others have gone even further, like Imane Karouach who left Morocco for India when she was 16. She has worked hard to become a jobbing Bollywood actress and, although not a mega-star, she has had several high-profile roles; she also runs a pizzeria in Mumbai. This quirky documentary, filled with a wide variety of characters, voices and movie clips, is a fascinating snapshot of a world few outside Morocco knew existed. It also includes a contribution from legendary Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor who passed away in April 2020. - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

Ali Ismael: Egypt's Musical Maestro | Al Jazeera World
May 28 2020 46 mins  
Egypt's cinema was prolific from the 1940s to the 1960s, a time when the stars of the silver screen captivated a generation of movie-goers. But the films' soundtracks were just as much a part of the appeal of these Arab cinema classics, and the man behind the vibrant rhythms of more than 350 movies was the legendary composer, Ali Ismael. It was through playing the saxophone in the nightclubs of downtown Cairo that Ismael found his niche, and where he met the Greek film composer, Andre Ryder, who got him into movies. An ardent supporter of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ismael also wrote many patriotic songs. Leave My Sky flew the flag during the Suez Crisis in the 1950s, and his music filled the airwaves during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Flags of Victory also inspired Egyptian forces when they reclaimed Sinai in 1973, and the song, Fida'i' or 'Warrior, also composed by Ismael, later became the Palestinian national anthem. Ismael's life and career were cut short in 1974 when he suffered a sudden, fatal heart-attack aged only 51. His military funeral was widely covered by the press and also shown in cinemas. Until today, his legacy remains as a prolific composer who brought joy to millions and whose songs became Arab classics. In this rich and colourful documentary, Al Jazeera World tells the multi-layered story of the musician's relatively short but successful life and career. Combining high-quality performances with incisive interviews, the film pays tribute to an Egyptian musical icon, whose popularity and cultural influence were felt by an entire generation across the Arab world.

Palestine Sunbird: A Stamp of Defiance | Al Jazeera World
May 20 2020 46 mins  
Palestinian protest against Israeli occupation has taken many forms in the past seven decades - from all-out Arab-Israeli war, to the Intifadas and the Great March of Return. On a global level, Palestinian leaders continue to lobby for increased international recognition of the State of Palestine. Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, other forms of self-determination are emerging. In his own form of dissent, artist Khaled Jarrar designs postage and passport stamps for the State of Palestine, using the Palestine sunbird as the motif. His stamps have been officially recognised by the postal services in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic. Jarrar’s is a protest in an artistic context, one that began in his home town of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. There, he designed a Palestinian visa stamp saying 'State of Palestine' which he began offering to international visitors, including a Jewish American woman with dual US-Israeli nationality. He stamped both her passports with the Palestine sunbird, but when she later went through Israeli immigration, officials interrogated her and cancelled her passport. In this Al Jazeera World film, we watch as Jarrar achieves a major breakthrough when Germany’s Deutsche Post accepts his design. An initial print run of 4,000 postage stamps quickly sells out, and he soon sells more than 28,000 German Palestine sunbird stamps, while also stamping hundreds of passports of tourists on the streets of Berlin. This is one man’s story of a peaceful Palestinian protest - but with a difference. It is the journey of a charismatic artist’s creative yet provocative way of promoting the Palestinian cause across the world.

Two Weddings, Somali Style | Al Jazeera World
May 06 2020 44 mins  
When it comes to weddings, Somalia has many approaches. Some couples stick with tradition while others go for more modern marriage ceremonies. This film tells the story of two weddings, one in a small desert village and the other in a busy city, while highlighting everyday life in different parts of the country. It also contrasts traditional ways of life with modern ideas that come from younger Somalis and social media. In the remote rural village of Toon, herder Jamalli Muhammad Ahmed can only marry a local woman called Hoda after first getting permission from her family. In a tradition going back generations, they all gather in the shade of a large tree to decide whether they are a suitable match. Only then can Jamalli and Hoda start planning their lives together. Abdullatif Deeq Omar in Hargeisa city, however, first met his future wife Najma on Facebook. They eloped but eventually returned to their families who accepted their marriage plans. Both weddings have the same pressures: buying outfits, inviting guests, finding a venue and arranging feasts - but each tells a unique story of family, community and tradition. In Somali culture, many people also believe that getting married in the run-up to Ramadan ensures additional blessings on the couple, making the happy occasion even more special. More from Al Jazeera World on: YouTube - Facebook - Twitter - Visit our website - Subscribe to AJE on YouTube -

Four Ramadan Songs | Al Jazeera World
Apr 29 2020 47 mins  
The Arab Muslim world has a long tradition of songs and chants for the holy month of Ramadan. This film tells the fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of four popular pieces. The song Ramadan Gana, or Here Comes Ramadan, is often played on TV to coincide with the start of Ramadan. Its simplicity, familiar lyrics and the singer’s warm voice make it hugely popular in the Arab world. Wahawi Ya Wahawi, or Welcome Ramadan Moon, was first performed by an Egyptian singer in the 1930s and later in a 1953 Egyptian movie by a five-year-old Lebanese girl, Hayam Younis, who still clearly remembers singing it. Decades on, she describes filming the song which became a timeless classic. Mawlay, or My Lord God, is a religious chant derived from a prayer. Former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat encouraged the Sufi figure Sayed Naqshband to work with the famous Egyptian composer, Baligh Hamdi, whose speciality was love songs. Despite early misgivings they found common ground, and the result was a deeply spiritual chant. Allou El Bayarek, or Hang Out Ramadan Flags, dates back to the Lebanese Civil War and was written for a children's choir at a Beirut orphanage. Composer Ahmed Kaboor had a vision of colourful flags, lights and lanterns hanging from every building. This film is a rich mix of music, theology and social and cultural history, weaving together interviews and rare video archive to offer a different take on Ramadan. More from Al Jazeera World on: YouTube - Facebook - Twitter - Visit our website - Subscribe to AJE on YouTube -

In the Footsteps of a Tunisian Hero | Al Jazeera World
Apr 01 2020 47 mins  
Lazhar Chraiti, a legendary figure in Tunisia's resistance to French colonial rule, was executed in 1963. More than 50 years later, Lazhar Chraiti's son goes back to Tunisia to find out more about how his father lived - and how he died. The story of Lazhar Chraiti is that of an unlikely hero. He had little education, was virtually illiterate, worked as a miner and was a trade union activist. Yet he had a vivid sense of the injustice in his country, particularly the economic and social divide between Tunisians and French colonials. In response, Chraiti joined the Fellagha, bands of rural fighters with a common enemy, the French. He quickly rose up the ranks and took part in several battles against French military units. Eventually in 1956, French colonial authorities - seeing Tunisia slipping from their control - offered nominal independence, but with strings attached. It was about this time that Lazar Chraiti first encountered Habib Bourguiba, a man who would later become Tunisia's first president. There were tensions between Bourguiba and the Fellagha, many of whom felt the deal did not reflect their struggle. In the Footsteps of a Tunisian Hero charts the rise and fall of Lazhar Chraiti's fortunes. The early years of Tunisian independence saw Bourguiba consolidate his power as the Fellagha's influence waned. Tensions came to a head when Bourguiba accused Lazhar Chraiti of being part of a coup attempt against the new president. In the film, Lazhar Chraiti's son tells how after his father's arrest, the family had nowhere to turn and were ostracised from Tunisian society. After a speedy trial, Chraiti was executed on January 24, 1963. To the continuing distress of his family, the site of his burial remains unknown. More from Al Jazeera World on: YouTube - Facebook - Twitter - Visit our website - Subscribe to AJE on YouTube -

A Hard Road from Home: Music and Fashion | Al Jazeera World
Mar 04 2020 44 mins  
"Refugees are always connected. Once you become a refugee ... it's like the energy just pull you guys together." - Emmanuel Jal, musician Four people - refugees from Sudan, Iraq, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe - took very different, unpredictable paths away from conflict or political persecution in their home countries. But they all have something in common: they have since built successful careers in the arts and culture industry and are driven to express themselves by using their skills to help others. Emmanuel Jal does not know when he was born. He knows he was born sometime in the 1980s in southern Sudan. He was displaced by the pre-secession war that took place between the north and south and was recruited as a child soldier while attending school in Ethiopia. He is now a critically acclaimed musician and author in Canada. Tara Moneka, a teenage singer from Baghdad, took part in a popular TV talent show in Iraq and received threats from militiamen angered by her singing. She now lives in exile in Turkey with hopes of returning home. Euphemia Sydney-Davies, who fled civil war in Sierra Leone as a child, today has her own fashion label in London, producing ethically sourced clothes for clients throughout the world. And Faith Gakanje, a vocal opponent of the government of Zimbabwe, fled her native country in 2002. She now lives in the UK, where she is a fashion entrepreneur and founder of a forum that supports refugee women. The four artists have found success through their determination, family support and what they consider to be a certain degree of good fortune. It is a gift they now pay forward to help fellow refugees and connect with others.

Egypt's Fadel Island | Al Jazeera World
Feb 26 2020 46 mins  
Located a three-hour drive outside of Cairo is Fadel Island, an isolated community nestled in the fertile lands of Egypt's Nile Delta. Few of its roughly 5,000 residents would call the area their ancestral home as more than 70 years ago their parents and grandparents travelled hundreds of kilometres to build a new life there. Their story begins in 1948 in the Palestinian town of Beer Saba'a, today part of southern Israel. The Bedouins who lived there were forcibly displaced from their homes in what Palestinians call Nakba - the catastrophe - the war that led to the creation of Israel. While most of Beer Saba'a's Arab population sought refuge by travelling east towards Jordan, a small number, thought to be about a few hundred people from the Namouly tribe journeyed west, crossing the Sinai desert before reaching the Nile Delta. Many who arrived in 1948 fully expected to return within a few months. Some would collect seeds hoping to plant in Palestinian soil. Today their descendants remain in Fadel Island where memories of Palestine still burn strong. Despite challenges they have faced since their arrival, they remain connected to their heritage and remarkable family story. Egypt's Fadel Island profiles a forgotten community as it adheres to its traditions and customs, tracing the tribe's history of uprooting - and the roots they have planted since. More from Al Jazeera World on: YouTube - Facebook - Twitter - Visit our website - Subscribe to AJE on YouTube -

Libya: A rally for hope | Al Jazeera World
Feb 18 2020 45 mins  
Mohamed Fezzani, a motor mechanic from the northern coastal town of Surman, is just one of the Libyan drivers and motorsport fans who are gathering for a rally in the desert in a still bitterly divided country. For Fezzani and the hundreds of drivers and fans, this is not just an escape from the endless factional violence, it is an opportunity to share their favourite sport with kindred spirits from all over Libya. Before the revolution, the highlight of the sporting year for Libyans like Mohamed was the international desert car and motorbike rally. The rally stopped in 2011 when the event moved abroad. It is now known as the Moroccan Desert Challenge. A couple of years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, smaller rallies started up again in Libya, despite the obvious challenges. One fan says that many Libyans could not take part in the 2016 rally because they "were fighting a war against ISIL [(ISIL) armed group] in Sirte", a coastal city in Libya. In 2018, however, Fezzani and his team decided to brave the 600-kilometre (372-mile) journey to the southern desert city of Waddan for three days of intensive four-wheeled action. But hardly anything went according to plan during the trip. Mohamed's journey to Waddan highlights the effect of years of conflict on the people of Libya. Even finding enough fuel to leave town is tricky, despite the country ranking as one of the top 20 oil-producing countries in the world. Despite the many challenges, fans are proud that the rally unites a diverse range of Libyans from across the country. "Here we don't ask the participants about their cities of origin, we don't care about politics. Libya is one family and we consider each other as brothers." - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

Simon Shaheen: A Musical Journey | Al Jazeera World
Feb 05 2020 47 mins  
This film goes behind the scenes with Palestinian icon and musical virtuoso, Simon Shaheen, one of the most significant and celebrated Arab musicians of his generation. Born into a large musical family from a village in northern Galilee, Shaheen was inspired by his father. “He introduced me to the secrets of classical Arab music,” Simon Shaheen says of his father Hikmat Shaheen, who was an oud player, teacher and composer. Since childhood, Simon Shaheen's artistic hunger and dynamic personality have helped him move from his native Palestine to cross cultural boundaries. He won a music scholarship from Columbia University in New York and later settled in the United States. But he looked to Palestine, the land of his birth, and to other parts of the Middle East, for the next generation of Arab musical talent. This film shows a series of Skype auditions with Shaheen in the US and his potential students in Haifa. From his base in Boston, Massachusetts, Shaheen has specialised in combining traditional Arabic music with Western classical and jazz; and his unique style has drawn followers from across the globe. For more than 20 years, Shaheen has also been leading a week-long Arabic musical retreat at a centre in rural Massachusetts. “Part of this retreat is to introduce Arabic music theory in a new, innovative way and from a different viewpoint,” Shaheen says. For successful young musicians, the retreat is an opportunity to study under one of the most significant musical teachers of a generation whose continuing desire to adapt and change is one of his greatest gifts. “I like to use the ideas of different music from different countries like Egyptian, Syrian, and Palestinian music, Lebanese, Moroccan, Tunisian and Iraqi music,” Shaheen says. He adds: “For sure, many of these musical styles have a lot in common but there are differences as well.” Violinist Layth Sidiq has attended Shaheen’s retreats. “I went deeper into Arabic music with Simon which made me appreciate my musical roots,” he says. “This encouraged me first to expand my understanding of Arabic music within me before I can share it with others. At the same time I can learn about other music and cultures and if possible merge the two together." - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

Yemen: The Last Lunch | Al Jazeera World
Jan 29 2020 47 mins  
Details surrounding the political assassination of Ibrahim al-Hamdi, president of North Yemen, in 1977 are stranger than fiction. Al-Hamdi, viewed by many as a reformer and modernist, came to power in a bloodless coup in June 1974 at a time when Yemen was divided into two countries: North Yemen, where al-Hamdi was president and Marxist South Yemen. As a moderniser, al-Hamdi pushed for Yemeni unification and was due to travel to Aden to meet with his southern counterpart in October 1977. Two days before that meeting was due to take place, al-Hamdi was invited to lunch at the home of his army commander Ahmed al-Ghashmi. On arrival, al-Hamdi was taken past the dignitaries and brought to a room where on the floor lay the body of his brother. According to an eyewitness, al-Hamdi was then murdered at the scene. The exact details of his death remain a mystery. Some claim he was shot dead in a drive-by shooting. A more lurid account places al-Hamdi's body and that of his brother alongside those of two young French women, who some speculate may have been spies, high class escorts, or both. While nobody was ever charged with the murder, the list of suspects included two future Yemeni presidents, tribal enemies opposed to al-Hamdi's erosion of their power and forces loyal to neighbouring Saudi Arabia, who vigorously denied involvement in the murder. The assassination of al-Hamdi still resonates today. More than 40 years on, his family and supporters still search for answers. And with few witnesses left alive, calls for accountability and closure are more pressing than ever. Yemen: The Last Lunch traces the events leading up to Ibrahim al-Hamdi's murder and how his death steered the course of a country deeply divided. - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

The Shame of My Name | Al Jazeera World
Jan 22 2020 47 mins  
Filmmaker: Sameh Mejri The Shame of my Name is the story of how some Algerians during the colonial period were forced to change their names by French colonial authorities at the time. Many of the names these Algerians were forced to carry hold demeaning and even vulgar meanings. The burden of these forced names is still carried by some Algerians to this day. The names were in the local Algerian Arabic dialect and cover a range of vulgar words, including descriptions of bodily functions and genitalia. In this film, we meet several of these individuals whose families were forced to carry names which translate as "Arse," "Runny Nose" and even more offensive monikers. One contributor finds her name so offensive that she cannot bring herself to utter it. She has since changed her name. “I go home and rest my head on the pillow. I pray to God to rid me of that ugly name which had become a curse in my everyday life,” Messaoud Bakhti tells Al Jazeera. Bakhti’s forefathers were forcibly called "Gahroum" which in the Algerian dialect means "Arse" - a name having nothing to do with the heritage of his ancestors. In 1882, 50 years after the French colonisation of Algeria, the French introduced the Civil Status Law. This allowed the authorities to impose approved names on Algerians arbitrarily. The decree stated that names would be in the “European style”, with a first name followed by the family name, which was quite different from traditional Muslim names. But beyond this, the law was frequently interpreted by some officials in ways that demeaned and insulted Algerians. And assigning European-style names to Algerians, whether offensive or not, had another important side effect. It muddied the waters of land ownership, making it difficult for some Algerians to prove their rightful title to their land. All of which means that now the spotlight is on France, with many Algerians saying that it is the responsibility of the French government and theirs alone, to pick up the pieces of this particular French colonial policy. Some say a full apology is long overdue and that reparations should be paid. “Yes, the French colonisers are responsible for this. But I also believe post-independent Algeria is responsible too,” Amel Ali Lhadfi, a former victim of obscene naming, says. She believes Algerian authorities could make it easy to settle this problem if they wanted to or at least the process should not take such a long time. "Whoever decides to change their name has to realise it may take 10 years.” - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

Arabs Abroad: The Paralympian and the Bone Maker | Al Jazeera World
Jan 15 2020 47 mins  
Filmmakers: Mohammad Amr and Nasser Farghaly Al Jazeera World with a series of films titled Arabs Abroad sources emigration success stories from all parts of the world. This film documents two Arabs abroad whose life and work reflects people with disabilities. The Paralympian Abderrahman Ait Khamouch represents his adopted country Spain as a Paralympic athlete, gaining accolades and awards including three Olympic silver medals. His story begins several hundred kilometres to the south, with a traumatic childhood accident in the small Moroccan village where he was raised. He was just eight years old when his right arm was burned by a bonfire, after which he jumped into a well to quell the pain. He suffered a severe fracture and infection which resulted in his arm being amputated. “When the doctor saw me, he told my brother I had just 24 hours to live. That night, the doctor amputated my right arm,” Abderrahman Ait Khamouch tells Al Jazeera. As a young adult, Ait Khamouch migrated to Spain in a small boat along with 40 other people. He later became a world-class long-distance runner, despite facing challenges finding work as a person with a disability. “I was motivated by the goal of helping my family in the village of Melaab. I also wanted to prove to myself that one day I could be successful and to show the others I could do it.” The Bone Maker Dr Hala Zreiqat is a Jordanian living in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city. She has become a world leader in regenerative medicine, designing synthetic bone implants using 3D printing. She uses cutting-edge technology and ceramic material to create bone implants which have been successfully tested in animals. Human trials of her 3D printed bones are just around the corner. “My ultimate goal is to see our inventions used by people so that humanity can benefit from our work,” Zreiqat tells Al Jazeera. Her work reflects the future of 3D printing technology that may include better treatment options for millions of people around the world. Zreiqat is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Sydney in Australia and has earned recognition in her adopted country. In 2018, Zreiqat was named New South Wales Woman of the Year for her outstanding contribution to medical research. - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

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