Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege), dir. Abdallah Al-Khatib, Lebanon / France / Qatar 2021, 89 min., Arabic with English subtitles
Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, Syria was once home to the largest concentration of Palestinian refugees. Abdallah Al-Khatib’s record of its brutal siege is vital viewing.
In 2013, the Assad regime blocked all routes in and out of Yarmouk. Under siege, its inhabitants were deprived of food, water and contact with the outside world. Al-Khatib’s camera takes us through the district’s streets, meeting elders and participating in lively protests; children wise beyond their years tell us where they find meaning and whose dreams all involve food. As food shortages reach alarming levels, the regime’s bombing campaign intensifies.
Al-Khatib’s poetic reflections, published at the time in 40 Rules of Siege, underscores the escalating disaster: ‘When the future sticks out its tongue sarcastically / When the most obvious answers to simple questions / Are a rare as a lump of sugar’. An act of witness and solidarity, Al-Khatib’s diary is testament to the dignity of the human spirit.
Fri, 15 Oct 2021
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