[Originally posted at NOW]
Over the course of six visits to the remote northeastern Beqaa town, Luna has interviewed dozens of the estimated 1,800 Syrian families seeking refuge there in hastily-built bare brick constructions (they cannot be described as “houses”). In the documentary, we meet the mayor of the town as well as a mother and wife who enumerates the daily battle for survival, but most memorable are the conversations with the children, who, despite recounting the horrific violence that led them to flee Syria, speak cheerily of their hopes of becoming doctors and pharmacists when they grow up. Indeed, at times, the footage is reminiscent of Mai Masri’s classic ‘Children of Shatila’.
Incidentally, the documentary could hardly have come at a ‘better’ time, as there has never been a more perilous period for Syrian refugees in Lebanon than right now. Luna did her filming on December 29th. Since that date, a deadly storm has buried almost all of Lebanon in freezing floods and snow, claiming at least four lives. One shudders to think how Luna’s interviewees are faring today, but to give us an idea, NOW’s Raphael Thelen will be filing a report from his own trip to Aarsal within the next few days.