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Al Jazeera World

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

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

Arabs Abroad: The Activist and the Entrepreneur | Al Jazeera World

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Millions of people from the Arab world have migrated or taken refuge in other countries over the decades, to escape war and persecution or for economic, educational and family reasons.

Arabs Abroad meets those who have built successful lives in countries outside the Middle East, focusing not on their journey but on their destination.

This episode meets two women who have overcome great odds to find success in their new lives abroad - one a politician and social activist in Iceland, the other an award-winning Moroccan-Dutch businesswoman who has created a multimillion-dollar business but still finds time to help disadvantaged young people in the Netherlands.

Dec 09 2021

45mins

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Doctor of Hope in Syria, Yemen and Turkey | Al Jazeera World

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Experienced consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Zouhair Lahna devotes most of his time to working as a volunteer in general and maternity medicine in places where there is little or no medical care.

In this film, he travels to Syria, Yemen and southern Turkey to perform surgeries, deliver babies and pass on his knowledge and expertise to the next generation of doctors, midwives and nurses.

Lahna’s voluntary work is inspiring as well as appreciated by everyone he meets, as he delivers a powerful, personal message of humanity and hope wherever he goes.

Dec 01 2021

46mins

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A Palestinian Israeli Crime Wave | Al Jazeera World

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There is a dark underworld of Palestinian crime syndicates operating within Israel.

Al Jazeera Arabic’s Tamer Almisshal examines this rarely reported but growing phenomenon.

He meets victims, gangsters and those attempting to keep a lid on a spiralling trend of lawlessness directed at Palestinian citizens of Israel.

He asks how the organised crime gangs work, who protects them, where they source their weapons, why murder rates are increasing and, importantly, what the Israeli police are doing to protect the Palestinian citizens of Israel?

Some accuse Israeli authorities of turning a blind eye, or worse, colluding with and infiltrating the gangs for political reasons, while Benjamin Netanyahu announced a multimillion-dollar initiative to combat these crimes.

But until little has changed and Palestinian victims add this problem to their already challenging lives in Israel.

Nov 24 2021

45mins

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The Story of Al Jazeera: A Unique Path | Al Jazeera World

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Twenty-five years ago, a new era in television news in the Middle East began when Al Jazeera Arabic started broadcasting from its headquarters in Doha, Qatar. Today, its news, current affairs and documentaries are seen and trusted by millions worldwide.

Al Jazeera began broadcasting in Arabic to an audience starved of free and independent news. It shook the Arabic-speaking world, tackling subjects previously thought too controversial or taboo.

The channel’s presence on the ground and its regional knowledge gave it an advantage over rival networks, as it produced bold journalism, reporting both sides of the story and often drawing harsh criticism from governments accustomed to a more compliant media.

In the past 25 years, Al Jazeera has won many awards for its fearless pursuit of the truth in an increasingly authoritarian world, continuing to hold power to account, while at the same time telling the human story - both on-air and online.

This documentary, made to mark the network’s 25th anniversary, tells the story of the Arabic channel's launch through the global events it reported in its first 10 years.

Nov 03 2021

50mins

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Senegal’s Pink Lake | Al Jazeera World

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The Pink Lake in Senegal attracts tourists and is a vital local resource, but there are certain environmental issues that could threaten its existence.

Lake Retba, or Lac Rose, near the capital, Dakar, is the only pink lake in Africa. It is a top tourist attraction and the salt dug from its bed also underpins the local economy on which thousands of people in Senegal and West Africa depend.

But it is also right next to the Atlantic Ocean and a strip of constantly moving dunes - so blowing sand can cause siltation and disturb the lake’s ecosystem. Seashell mining also used to disrupt the flow of underground water to the lake and local rainfall has fallen due to climate change.

Some local experts are worried that the lake’s salt may be being overexploited. Although action has been taken to protect it – the government has banned seashell mining and the lake is now given an annual biological rest – there is still a risk that if the environmental situation were to deteriorate, the effects could be quite serious. Continued, unregulated urbanisation of the area, for example, could expose the lake to the nearby sand dunes and prevent rainfall from reaching its waters.

Such ecological changes would affect many people’s lives. Some scientists also believe the lake’s value is not only in its salt - its unusual ecology, they say, might provide valuable insights into the science of climate change.

The Pink Lake has been on UNESCO’s tentative heritage list since 2005, but this has still not materialised. However, if environmental protection is not maintained, significant harm could be done to the lake.

Oct 28 2021

46mins

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Samaritan Weddings: Signed, Sealed, Delivered | Al Jazeera World

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The Samaritans are a tiny ethnic-religious community dating back almost 3,000 years – and they are a population in crisis. But perhaps not for long. Marriage agencies in Ukraine have arranged for more than a dozen women to marry into the Samaritan community in Palestine.

Many Samaritans live in a mountain village near Nablus in the occupied West Bank and face a worrying numbers problem. There are only 800 surviving Samaritans, where once they were counted in their thousands. Men outnumber women by three to one. Their custom is that a young Samaritan man can only marry a woman from within the community if he has a sister who he can offer as a bride in return.

Faced with a fight for survival, a Samaritan religious leader changed the rules to allow Samaritan men to marry women from abroad. While some traditional Samaritans initially resisted the arrival of several Ukrainian brides into this close-knit community, the women are adapting to their new surroundings and providing a population lifeline to this small community.

Oct 20 2021

47mins

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A Tunisian Family: High hopes, desperate lives | Al Jazeera World

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Family, feuds and the future: the Tormsi family, struggling to make ends meet, reflects on the lack of opportunities in Tunisia today - and the older children especially weigh up their options.

There is little money for the family of six that is heavily dependent on their ageing father and the eldest son. Some hard choices need to be made. The two teenage boys consider whether to complete their education in Tunisia or risk everything by taking an illegal boat trip to Europe. They think they stand a better chance of getting European residency if they land in Europe as minors – but their agonising choice has no certain outcome.

The parents balance the reality of trying to feed their family against the aspirations of the younger generation. They want different opportunities, careers, experiences, and modern consumer goods - all of which are unattainable on a brick labourer’s wage in a struggling economy.

Like many around them, the Tormsi family have largely given up on Tunisian politics and are disillusioned about the near future. The 2011 revolution offered high hopes for the nation, but many people remain poor and this optimism has faded. Despite the difficulties, the family retain a degree of positivity and believe there are many other Tunisians worse off than the

Oct 06 2021

45mins

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Gaza: 60-Minute Warning | Al Jazeera World

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In May 2021, missiles from Israeli jets struck and completely demolished four towers in Gaza – that is a fact. What was not clear was the reason for the attacks. Why were these buildings selected for destruction?

Israel claimed the towers were used by Hamas, whose military wing was launching rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities at the time. Local Palestinians in Gaza, as well as international media and political leaders, disputed this and maintained that the towers housed only businesses, residential apartments and media organisations, including Al Jazeera Media Network and American news agency The Associated Press.

This film charts the story of the attacks - from the 60-minute evacuation warning to the question of the cost of rebuilding - and seeks to establish why these towers were singled out, bombed and destroyed.

Sep 29 2021

46mins

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Literary liaisons of iconic North African writers | Al Jazeera World

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While writing is normally a solitary profession, occasionally literary connections between great authors spark fiery, creative tension and sometimes storytelling brilliance.

This film is the tale of two such connections, both in North Africa in the mid-twentieth century.

The first is about the French writer, Jean Genet, and the Moroccan novelist, Mohamed Choukri.

Both were brought up in dysfunctional circumstances, devoid of life’s advantages, but managed to overcome their troubled early lives.

They met in Tangier where both rose to become leading, modern literary figures and lifelong friends.

The second tells the compelling story of the conflicting lives of Nobel laureate Albert Camus and author Kateb Yacine, set against the violent backdrop of the Algerian War of Independence.

Sep 22 2021

45mins

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Meteorite Hunters in Morocco | Al Jazeera World

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Meteorites may be the only truly extra-terrestrial items it is possible to find, buy or own on Earth.

Their rarity has created a global trade, fed by a fascination with these dark rocks from outer space. Most meteorites on the market come from Morocco, where the inky-black rocks are easier to spot in the arid mountain landscape.

Nomads welcome these "gifts from the sky" and sell them to dealers and researchers.

However, the prices obtained by Moroccan nomads in the High Atlas Mountains are a fraction of those in the fashionable rock and crystal shops in Europe.

Sep 14 2021

46mins

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The Story Behind the Scenes | Al Jazeera World

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An action movie with global stars, fast cars and an exotic location is nothing new.

But the politics behind the scenes of The Misfits, a recent high-octane movie release, reveals its own story - one of producer power struggles, money, influence, politics, and an apparent attempt to tarnish the reputation of a country.

Production on the film began while Qatar was under a blockade by four of its Arab neighbours, including the UAE. When a new Abu Dhabi-based producer took over financing The Misfits, the story, location and focus shifted from a Caribbean crime caper to one involving Qatar and a "terror" plot. Then real political events overtook the fiction, so a watered-down version of the movie was hastily made and released - still with some lingering Qatar references.

This investigation explores the lengths taken to try and alter the public perception of Qatar through the production of an adventure movie. It asks: Why was so much money and effort spent on this project? Who was really behind it? And how much damage can a film like this - even in its revised version - inflict?

Sep 10 2021

45mins

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My Own Private History in Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia | Al Jazeera World

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Four stories: a Sinai Bedouin who lived through the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; a retired Jordanian spy who worked undercover in the occupied West Bank; the granddaughter of the leader of a bid for independence in a small town in Egypt in 1919; and one man’s recollection of the protests in Tunisia on January 17, 1961, sparked by the filming of the Hollywood movie, The Thief of Baghdad.

In this film, we present witnesses' accounts of these historical stories - each told through a unique and subjective perspective by those who witnessed the events first-hand, or who have had the narrative handed down to them orally.

Each storyteller recounts key moments in history, as they saw it, upfront and personally.

Sep 01 2021

46mins

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Somalia’s first women's football team, the Golden Girls | Al Jazeera World

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Courage, corruption, culture and competition – all major factors in the life and times of the first women’s football team in Somalia and its inspirational young coach, Shaima Sellal. The government gave the go-ahead for a women’s team in 1994, but it did not take off because of the continuing civil war. Football can be a casualty of the conflict in a "failed state".

But when an enthusiastic, 19-year-old player-coach arrived from Kenya in 2015, she kick-started the team and adopted the name the "Golden Girls". The team grew, and it applied to FIFA for funding to go to South Africa to play in a tournament in 2018 – but the local authorities siphoned off the cash. When Shaima questioned them, she received threats and had to flee back to Kenya.

Now Shaima arrives back in Somalia, firing on all cylinders. In this film, she and her players tell their personal stories of having to fight the prejudices of a traditional, conservative Muslim culture and for recognition by their families and society as a whole. But when they get the backing of the Somali National Women’s Organisation, they finally take off to compete in a tournament abroad. They might lose the final but they gain a lot of kudos and self-belief.

"We’re back again," says Shaima. "The Golden Girls are back again."

Jul 25 2021

46mins

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Israel and Hamas: Anatomy of a Prisoner Exchange | Al Jazeera World

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Between 2006 and 2011, a high-stakes negotiated prisoner exchange took place between Israel and Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip. During that time, the two sides did not have any direct contact, so mediators from Egypt, Germany and Ireland were involved. At stake were the terms of exchange between one captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and a large number of Palestinian prisoners.

This film goes behind the scenes of that remarkable five-year operation. Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Tamer Almisshal and his team secured access to those at the centre of the complex negotiations, including a rare interview with senior Hamas leader Marwan Issa as well as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

It is a story of deadlines, brinksmanship, intelligence and ultimately of deal-making: in exchange for the release of Shalit, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. In early 2021, Hamas claimed to hold a further four Israeli prisoners, captured in the 2014 war. While Israel disputed their full claim, it raised the question of whether a new round of prisoner exchange negotiations may be on the cards for these two sworn enemies.

Jul 14 2021

46mins

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Arabs Abroad: The Designer and The Atomic Scientist | Al Jazeera World

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Arabs Abroad: The Designer & the Atomic Scientist profiles two people who have built highly successful, yet quite different, lives in countries beyond their Arab homelands.

The film meets an Iraqi graphic designer living in Germany - a man whose work is seen by millions - and a Palestinian-American atomic scientist whose research with the smallest of particles brings life-changing benefits to people around the world.

Decades after they moved, both remain connected to their roots, each - in their own way - giving something back their region of origin. While stories about migrants and refugees from the Middle East are often simply about their journeys, Arabs Abroad explores what happens after these people arrive at their destination.

Jul 01 2021

45mins

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Chad's Football Dream | Al Jazeera World

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Football is hugely popular in Chad but results on the pitch have been disappointing. It has never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup.

In 2016, the national team was suspended after facing financial problems. That ban was lifted in 2019, the starting point of this film.

Players, coaches, politicians and fans all have conflicting views on how the national football team will find success. The weight of that responsibility now rests on a handful of players, each filled with footballing passion but without the resources they need.

In one of the poorest countries in the world, can the squad find success at last? What will it take to rebuild a team recovering from a ban from the Africa Cup of Nations, largely caused by financial problems? And how will it overcome these economic woes to deliver the wins they need?

Jun 23 2021

46mins

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Rebel Radio Ships | Al Jazeera World

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Pirate radio: A force for change or a transient subversive movement?

The Voice of Peace and Radio Caroline were pirate radio stations that launched in the 1960s and 1970s, broadcasting from ships anchored outside national territorial waters, in an attempt to challenge the societies around them.

Radio Caroline, moored off the east coast of England, was "The Boat that Rocked" and was hugely popular with young 1960s music fans. Along with other pirate stations of the time, it helped bring about a cultural change in British broadcasting that is still felt today.

The Voice of Peace, based in the eastern Mediterranean, expressed an alternative, pacifist, political viewpoint outside of 1970s Israeli mainstream politics.

This documentary intercuts the stories of these two stations, through a mix of archive, presenter anecdotes, journalistic analysis and historical context. In so doing, it sheds light on both 1960s European pop culture and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jun 09 2021

45mins

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Songs from North Africa | Al Jazeera World

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Music offers insights into the songwriter, the performers, the audience and their cultures. In this film, we delve into the stories of four songs from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Sudan.

From Morocco comes an expression of mourning and loss - Younes Megri is a renowned regional name whose most famous song was picked up by a western pop group. The Algerian song is from the legendary Hamid Cheriet, aka ‘Idir’, who sang in the Amazigh language and achieved a global fan base. The patriotic Tunisian anthem was written by Mohamed Jamoussi, who was close to the country’s first Prime Minister Habib Bourguiba. And from Sudan is a people's song about heroism that dates back to a major flood on the Nile in 1946. All are part of the long North African tradition of songwriting and performance.

We speak with a range of musicians, historians and commentators who explain these songs' fascinating contexts and histories.

Jun 02 2021

46mins

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Arabs Abroad: The Humanitarian and the Healer | Al Jazeera World

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A Palestinian boy who was rescued from danger in 1967 grew up to become a major global figure in the Red Crescent and Red Cross, while a Jordanian woman who struggled to get into American medical schools now leads cutting-edge research into rheumatic treatments.

Dr Hossam Elsharkawi was rescued from Gaza during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; decades later, he has been responsible for rescuing thousands of people from war zones. Jordanian Dr Nadera Sweiss is now also a highly regarded physician based in Chicago. Both doctors not only achieved their goals but have also selflessly improved the lives of thousands of patients and those suffering in conflicts and crises around the world.

We follow both their stories in the latest episode of Arabs Abroad, a series about men and women who have left the Middle East to lead successful careers in other countries.

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Apr 28 2021

45mins

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Minimalism in Turkey: Journey to a Simple Life | Al Jazeera World

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"Less is more," so the saying goes.

While many people aspire to earn more, buy more and own more, some are challenging material values and looking to seriously declutter their lives.

The "simple living" movement, also known as minimalism, is about being satisfied with what you have rather than constantly craving more.

In this documentary, a social media consultant in Istanbul persuades his family to follow him on a quest for a less materialistic lifestyle. They visit a self-sufficient rural commune and meet others who have already rejected consumer values - including a former automotive engineer who gave up all his credit cards and an architect-turned-shepherd in the Anatolia Mountains.

As the global pandemic forces us all to adjust to a "life on hold", this film taps into the zeitgeist and asks if we really need so much stuff.

Mar 24 2021

47mins

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iTunes Ratings

52 Ratings
Average Ratings
34
9
3
4
2

English Dubbing

By Leahnybree - Oct 22 2018
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Please include English dubbing!

Love it

By spencerlennard - Jun 23 2018
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Thank you for the best global coverage!