Salam Neighbor (2015) Movie Script

Good evening.
These uprisings,
The citizen revolutions
we've been covering
From the middle east
over to north africa,
Have been popping up
like thunderstorms.
a situation is unfolding
in libya.
Witnesses are hearing
gunfire and blasts
From rocket-propelled
you have these moments
When an old world dies
And a new one
is not yet born.
And this is
a very dangerous
And perilous moment.
the whole region
Seems to be
on fire right now.
Now it's syria.
Syria exploded.
thousands of
have lost their lives
In the conflict
between forces
Loyal to president
bashar al-assad
And fighters opposed
to his rule.
the insurgency
has taken a turn
Towards a much more significant
islamic radicalization.
-Isis militants...
syria's newest conflict--
It's war within a war.
for three years,
we've been watching
the bloodshed in syria.
The same images of
war and violence
Seem to spread
across every channel
And every headline.
The result is fear.
Fear of terrorism,
fear of islam,
Fear of the middle east.
Drowned out
was the coverage
Of the million syrians
Who have been
forced to flee their country,
Creating the largest refugee
crisis since world war ii.
As filmmakers, we immerse
ourselves in humanitarian
Living the reality we
are attempting to understand.
And in ,
we created a nonprofit
To help bring
these stories to life.
We hope to do this with
the syrian refugee crisis,
To take the time to hear
from refugees firsthand.
When the world
is turning away
And they've lost
What does their
future look like?
It took over a
year to make it possible,
But with jordan's
The un agreed
to register us
And give us a tent inside a
refugee camp in jordan.
It was the first time
that has ever been done.
of all districts,
where to put you?
We don't want to put you
in a congested area,
'cause that would
just be crazy,
so we're staying here.
The project
that you're doing
I don't think
has been done before
In a refugee camp
anywhere in the world.
for want of a better
term, as a sociological
Or as a piece of research,
In terms of how refugee
camps operate and run,
I think it'll be
very useful...
In a way that will help
unhcr and other agencies
Understand the dynamics
And the life
and the beat of a camp.
Your interactions with people
May not always be
positive and good.
Just be sensible.
we were traveling
to jordan,
A country that has taken
An estimated
. million syrians
In just four years--
The equivalent of the
us providing refuge
For half the population
of mexico.
And jordan
is a small country,
About the size of indiana.
On its northern border
Is the second
largest refugee
camp in the world.
Just seven miles
from syria,
It's providing
shelter to
, refugees.
Am binsawir.
Do you have any kind
of id, identification?
These are
the documents.
we were going
to be living in za'atari
For the next month.
Aside from paying
for what we received,
We were registered
in the same way
And given the same
supplies as refugees.
It would be up to
us to figure out
How to navigate life here.
I'm gonna get so lost
around this camp.
- is this home?
We don't want to anger
anyone on our first day.
Is there a problem?
right off the
bat, we had some anger
and confusion
About zach and me
filming women
And what we were
doing next to the kitchen
Where the women hang out.
But once we promised
we wouldn't film
anyone without permission,
Things quickly calmed
Right away, people came
to help us set up our tent.
We couldn't tell if they were
refugees or aid workers,
But it turned out they lived in
the tents and trailers
Right next door.
-It's like--
-so, like this?
Here, you hold
the shovel.
Okay, watch me.
You want to try?
Yes, very good.
Very good.
I think they're making
fun of my hammering skills,
But you know.
-Oh, it needs a cylinder.
-Yeah, yeah.
He has a solution for you.
He could us
something like--
They call it a melon.
It looks like a melon.
He's our neighbor.
Yeah, he said
that we are neighbors,
and we should--
He will give us--
he will give us--
Oh, look at this.
Good thing we all
forgot toothpaste.
So that's helpful.
he's teaching you
how to use them.
I know how to
use that, raouf.
Oh, this is...
oh, uh, mice can open this
And they start eating.
Let's put this back inside.
Let's see what we know.
this is za'atari camp.
It's about /
miles by / miles,
And it's broken
into districts here.
And then our tent is
here in district .
These camps like
za'atar exist all over the world
In different countries.
Wherever the camps
are, they have to follow the
Of that host country,
Even though many
are set up and managed
By the united nations.
In za'atari,
the un works
With over nonprofits
to run the camp.
It's a massive operation
to provide tents and trailers,
Trucks of clean
water, daily food distributions,
and community centers,
And even school
up to the th grade.
Za'atari is patrolled
by the jordanian police,
And they have the final
say on security in the camp.
Why are they telling us
it's too dangerous now?
That was just security...
That stopped by
our tent.
They're saying
it's too dangerous
For us to stay overnight.
Um, the one person
we can talk to
Is the local
district leader.
Just gotta pack
our stuff up
And go to his tent.
Is there any way
you can ask security
To let us stay
overnight in the camp?
Do you have any idea
why they would've
changed their minds?
after all of our planning,
Security changed
their mind,
And we couldn't
stay overnight in the camp.
Good-bye, district .
It was for our own safety.
We had to head
to the town of mafraq,
About seven miles
from za'atari.
It was disappointing,
but it actually showed us
A completely different
side of the refugee
crisis in jordan.
% of refugees
here live outside of camps,
In urban cities,
Relying on jordanian
But in a country with high
unemployment and limited
How long can people
continue to welcome
in new refugees?
We had a hard time
finding anywhere to stay.
The city was so
crowded with syrians,
Rent prices had tripled
Since the war
began three years ago.
Luckily, ibraheem
found us a storage room
In the back
of an office building
Where we could
spend our nights
for the next month.
-Thank you.
-We're making
some tea for you.
it wasn't long
Before people
started coming into our tent
To ask us questions
Or just say hi.
Right away, we
were a new source of amusement
For raouf and his friends.
Oh! Yeah!
It really started to
feel like a routine.
Every day we'd
leave from mafraq late a
And then be back
in the camp again
By a.M.
one of the first
people we became close with
Was this guy named
ismail, and it was--
It was wild, because ismail
looked just like my dad in
And even acted like him.
They both love to cook.
You're a master.
Even had a very
similar sense of humor.
Before the war,
ismail was studying
At a university in
damascus to be a french teacher.
And as soon as the war started,
he had to flee the country,
Leaving everything
he knew behind.
He was one of the
first refugees in za'atari
When it opened
two years ago.
Why did you decide
to leave syria?
Was there a particular--
Like, when did you
choose to?
Was there a reason?
Something that happened?
every month,
tens of thousands
of people like ismail
Attempt the journey
out of syria.
% seek refuge
in egypt, lebanon,
Iraq, turkey and jordan.
With % of syria's
infrastructure destroyed
By the ongoing violence,
Families often spend
their entire savings on guides
Who will smuggle
them through the war zone
And eventually over the border
in the middle of the night.
We can proudly say that
when they come here,
That is when they can
actually breathe
And actually relax
and sleep.
It's important
to see people,
Check those who need
immediate assistance.
The very first, um, step
Is that of receiving water.
They've been traveling,
:, -- :
Yet again another step in a long
journey towards safety.
The second thing
is the vaccination.
They need full protection.
these services
rely on international aid
And private donations.
Sadly, the un
has only received
A little over half
of the funding
That donor countries
have promised for this crisis.
They're astonished, like,
how americans want to
live the same like--
in a good way or--
-Not in a good way.
thank you for
inviting us to your home.
And actually, we haven't
even seen many of these
types of food.
Could they explain to us
what they are?
and this is
olive oil and thyme.
- Aww!
so, where did you
learn to do all of these
hanging crafts?
Does it cost a lot
to make these?
with jordan's
high unemployment rate,
It's almost impossible
for refugees
To get visas
to legally work.
But inside the contained
space of the camp,
Jordan is more lenient,
Allowing more informal
business to start.
This is how um ali
sold her vase to an aid worker.
The law also prevents
refugees from leaving the camp
Unless they have
a jordanian sponsor.
But in order
to make a living,
Syrian refugees
overcome this barrier
By partnering
with jordanians,
Who bring supplies
in and out of the camp.
Syrians are finding ways
to work and be productive
By any means possible.
Here you have , people
in front of you,
And all that
they're begging for
Is to be recognized
as human beings
And not be just served
some assistance
Which may not always be adapted
to what they want.
people were showing us
That they have a different
concept of the space,
A different concept of how their
settlement should look like.
We were building a camp.
They were building a city.
in just two years,
syrian refugees
Have developed
a multi-million-dollar economy.
At the center of the camp
is a thriving market street
Jokingly named
the champs-elyses.
We're riding
on a donkey
Through the
With over
, business,
You can buy
almost anything.
The un has never
seen a camp's economy
Expand so quickly.
Many camps forbid
this kind of growth.
But syrians were determined
to rebuild their new lives.
And the un has even
begun to embrace this vision,
Putting za'atari
in a league all of its own.
In addition to
this bustling economy,
: -- :,
Our neighbors are
investing in their homes.
They're moving
trailers to be near family
And building
makeshift houses
That have bedrooms, gardens,
Private bathrooms,
and even fountains.
This kind of growth
in za'atari is remarkable.
But without the workings
of the city to support it,
It can only go so far.
In za'atari, there are
no household-level water
And sewage systems.
And the electrical grid
is completely overloaded.
there are
limits to what we,
As humanitarians,
can do.
We are good
as humanitarians,
As we are,
as the system is,
To provide first aid.
But we don't have
the capacity to work
On medium- and
long-term strategies.
We can pretend it,
but we don't have it.
nonprofits and the un
Don't have the
expertise to set up a city.
They need support from city
planners and private companies
To effectively run za'atari.
But the world hasn't stepped up
To support jordanians,
the un or syrians
To pursue this kind of vision.
Currently, za'atari
remains a short-term solution
For a long-term problem.
as we headed
into mafraq,
It was almost
too much to think
That za'atari
is only a fraction
Of the refugees
in jordan.
Most syrians
live outside of the camp.
And one was our
neighbor ghoussoon.
Like so many
of the families here,
She's the head
of her household.
One in four families
are led by a woman
:, -- :
Because so many
men are still in syria.
When did you make
that journey?
Did you make it by yourself from
syria to mafraq?
It's not easy. From
a gender perspective,
Many women are expected
to stay inside the home.
Of course, if you
have a female-headed
The woman doesn't
really have a choice.
She has to leave
the home to find
Some kind of support
for her family,
or otherwise.
even now,
when you have to provide
For your whole family,
Um, is there ever,
you know--
Would you ever think
about going to za'atari,
Where they give you free food
or they give you, uh...
Different services?
arrived in jordan
Before the refugee
camps were set up.
She chooses not
to relocate to za'atari
Because she believes
she can build
A more traditional
home for her kids
outside of the camp,
Where they can go
to public jordanian
Who drew on this?
What is this?
We have graffiti
on our--
-Oh, yeah.
-I can't tell--
at least it's a heart.
It says
"raouf's tent"?
No, really?
Does it really?
It says
"raouf's tent"?
-Abdel raouf.
Did you do these?
Thank you.
My man raouf,
let's get inside.
It's cold.
Yeah, it's cold.
Aren't you freezing?
Did you clean--
You cleaned the--
: -- :,
Aw, raouf.
Raouf, sit on
the mattress.
I appreciate that.
Dude, this kid
is the man.
Did you go to school
in syria?
What grade were you in
when you left?
So, uh, what do you
want to be
When you, uh, grow up?
You want to be
a doctor? Nice.
Have you always wanted
to be a doctor?
He wants to help
the injured people.
You want to help
the injured people?
Like, the people
back in syria?
There's a lot of school
before you can become
a doctor.
And you're willing
to do it all?
Yeah? Wow.
Well, maybe--
can you be my doctor
when I'm--
When you're a doctor?
I would love to
have a doctor.
it's been
almost two years now,
And raouf still doesn't
want to go to school.
He says he doesn't
want to go
Until he's back at
home in syria.
We've been trying to
convince him to start
, --
But the sad truth of it
Only half of refugee
kids are getting an education.
What's up, raouf? Hey.
Are you gonna
go today?
-He doesn't know?
-He doesn't.
You don't know?
Well, you have--
what time is it?
-It's almost :.
- minutes.
Why don't you want to go today?
Why don't you go?
They'll help you
find your class, raouf.
Right when you
walk in--
And we can even walk
with you down there,
if you want,
And then,
when you walk in,
The organization
will help show you
where you class is,
And you're
all registered,
So you won't have
anything to worry about.
Raouf, like, why don't
you want to go to school?
Because you can
go to school
if you want to go.
Why don't you
eat right now,
then let's go?
I promise you,
you could be there
in ten minutes.
Why don't we go?
We'll prove you wrong.
I had no idea
that it was, like--
It's trauma-based.
Not, like, it's--
I mean--
I think there's so many
factors involved now.
But he's just scared.
And, like, he has
a reason to be...
Yeah, no ten-year-old
should ever have
to live with that.
You can have
some water, raouf.
Your life
is way more complicated
than we thought it was.
What's up, buddy?
Did you beat zach
at soccer?
You beat him up?
Because it's, like,
a combination
Of, like, a lot of
things that all come
together at one time.
It's, like, always
just right under
the surface,
Where you meet
so many people
Who are just, like,
always so friendly,
Always talking.
You don't even notice
anything's wrong at all.
And then you just
hear more about--
It's, like, one fact
about one person.
And that is something
that I could never
even imagine.
I don't really want
to talk about it.
within minutes,
the failure of the peace
conference in geneva
, miles away set
off a camp-wide demonstration.
The refugees were voicing
their disapproval
Of the ongoing war
in syria
And showing support
for those left behind.
And even though these protests
will eventually disperse,
The fighting just seven miles
away rages on.
this is
the tip of the iceberg
In za'atari.
It's where you can see and
feel the conflict, actually.
You hear the fighting.
: -- :,
...Which we are not--
at times,
our offices here have shook
Because of the closeness
of mortar fire.
You never get
a mental break from that.
You're always thinking
about who's still at home.
People are trying to
build a normal life,
But are finding it tough.
and what
is this again?
And why
is he lonely?
Is this a man who lost
all of his children?
Do you know anyone
who's like this,
Who lost all of
their children?
what do you do
at the women's center?
So, you need
to teach us
So we can--
so we can make--
the center
was clearly a home
away from home for her,
A place where
she had friends,
access to help.
She'd even begun
to work alongside
the jordanian staff,
Teaching art.
it's a very,
very important point--
out of crisis.
And that's something
we're underestimating.
I mean, we're
focusing so much
on these responses.
Yes, we have
to make sure that
people are warm,
Have proper shelter,
food, water, and so on
and so forth.
But we're forgetting
that it's really
an opportunity
To have time
to develop and think
And learn things.
In that sense,
We have obligation
to invest in
the human capital
Which this presents.
No, you're
saying it, "argh."
I can't roll my rs.
Sean cheats.
Ha ha! What is that?
Have you ever seen
an outfit like this?
This is really difficult.
How do you say "difficult"?
sitting there
in the tent,
We realized
just how vulnerable raouf
and his friends really are.
Watching them play
these violent video games
on their phones--
At first it seemed
like nothing.
But for these
kids, it's their reality.
It's a reality
that's knocking on the door
right across the border.
Extremist groups
like al-nusra and isis,
They want to prey on
and exploit kids
Who don't have
access to education,
-- ,
Kids who are
in desperate situations.
When we think
about the people we've met
in this camp--
Raouf's family...
:: --
All of our friends here--
They have chosen
peace over war,
To leave the fighting,
To leave the extremists
like isis,
Who they've even
renamed "daesh",
An insulting name derived from
the word "to trample".
to help the kids
here, ismail and his friends
Volunteer at one
of the many children's centers
in the camp.
Very good, very good.
just like
the women's centers,
These children's centers
are designed for trauma.
They provide safe spaces,
Running simple activities
that promote healing
And help prevent children
just like raouf
From slipping
too far behind
Or not returning
to school altogether.
These centers
don't replace schools,
But instead gets kids
ready to go back to them.
after four years
of the war,
The burden of refugees in
countries neighboring syria
Has reached
a breaking point,
Forcing them to often
effectively close their borders
To those fleeing
the violence.
. million people
remain displaced
From their homes
inside of syria.
This is the moment
where countries
all over the world
Need to open their borders
to syrians in need
And to support host countries,
like jordan,
Who have already
welcomed so many,
Yet do not have
the resources
To provide the dignity
refugees deserve--
The housing,
jobs and education,
That will not only help
stabilize the region,
But help save
an entire generation.
The world has been so wrapped
up in the violence,
We have forgotten
that this dignity
Is what creates
lasting peace.
Today is
the last day, but--
We hope that, too.
No matter what,
We will--we will
come and visit again.
No, not at all.
And I think--
Especially--I think
it was in conversation
with you--
We talked about
how there's--
There are good and bad
people in every society.
And that's the same
in the states
as it is here.
Before we came, we had
no idea what to expect.
We didn't know
if we'd be welcomed
Or if we'd booted
out of the camp.
But we've been,
from the very beginning,
Felt like people have,
you know, welcomed us in
And, over time, have become
very close friends with
all of you.
What we've really
come away with is,
you know,
We're not just syrians
and americans,
But we really are
And when neighbors
are in need,
Hopefully they
can come together
and help each other.
it was humbling
sitting there
on that last day,
Being surrounded
by people who have
overcome so many obstacles,
But despite everything,
still have hope
And generously opened their
homes and hearts to us.
We're headed home,
but our friends are not.
On average, refugees
are stuck in camps
For years.
-- :,
It would be a tragedy
to lose the potential
of this population...
When they are
the solution,
The ones who will
rebuild syria,
Or will work
to rebuild their lives
In countries
that provide them homes.
This isn't just the story
of the millions fleeing war
Or the neighboring countries
who have welcomed them in.
This is a story
about breaking a cycle
Of distrust and violence,
About creating
Because, as neighbors,
How we choose to
respond to this crisis
Will affect all of us.