Love life...

Al Jazeera – Programmes Witness – Hostage To Fortune

Published on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Director: Mariam Shahin

Aftermath Of Bombing
Aftermath Of Bombing

Journalists George Azar and Mariam Shahin moved to Gaza City in February 2005 in a time of hope. They had just published the first English-language travel guide of historic Palestine. History was about to happen in Gaza. The Israelis had announced their intention to end their 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip. Palestinians envisioned a better life.

Living in Gaza, George and Mariam came to know Gaza’s artists, athletes, archeologists, business people and development workers. They filmed high school graduations, harvests and weddings. They witnessed the upsurge of hope and optimism as the Israelis withdrew.

Staying in Gaza, they covered the subsequent events: Jewish settlements were reclaimed; Hamas were elected; the 2006 summer war with Israel erupted; and then fighting between Fatah and Hamas broke out.

Palestinian Infighting
Palestinian infighting

Gradually they witnessed the descent into turmoil, the crushing of hope and the emergence of despair. They covered Israeli massacres and militant funerals. Their local fixer and long-time friend became part of a major news story when 18 members of his family were killed in an Israeli bombing in 2006.

They witnessed Israel’s military encirclement of Gaza, its deadly bombardments and ground invasions. They saw first-hand the effects of the international blockade on Gaza and the battles between Hamas and Fatah. And they covered the increasingly serious issue of hostage-taking.

Through the eyes of two film-makers, this film charts the rise and fall of hopes and dreams in Gaza.

Watch this episode of Witness here:

Part 1 of 4

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4

Part 4 of 4

Girls In Hallway

Published on Friday, September 21st, 2007

Girls In Hallway

Palestinian girls huddled in a school hallway yesterday in Nablus as Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen clashed. A soldier and a militant died. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to arrive in the region today for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Girls In Hallway 2

New York Times Article

Witness – Gaza Special – Producers: Mariam Shahin and George Azar

Published on Friday, July 6th, 2007

Rageh Omaar returns to Gaza to investigate the kidnapping of BBC journalist Alan Johnston and many others plus an exclusive interview with Sheikh Salah Dughmush who criticised the coverage given to the kidnapping of the correspondent when thousands of Palestinians are detained by the Israelis.

Part 1

Part 2

Crossroads Europe – Muslim Berliners – Producers: Mariam Shahin and George Azar

Published on Friday, July 6th, 2007

In the film Muslim Berliners she looks at the uneasy history of Turkish and Middle Eastern immigrants, many of whom feel German — but find their allegiances questioned, especially after 9/11.

Part 1

Part 2

Iraq: The Way Out? – Filmed by George Azar

Published on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

George Azar in Iraq
Josh Rushing and cameraman George Azar with members of the Iraqi Second Infantry Division and US soldiers from the Boondock Saints

Iraq: The Way Out?

The Bush administration often repeats the phrase “When they stand up, we’ll stand down”.

And in an effort to speed up the process, the US army is training teams of soldiers to embed into the very Iraqi army they once defeated.

Al Jazeera’s Josh Rushing follows one such team through training at Fort Riley, Kansas – where the soldiers are supposed to learn culture and language skills to help them “lead from behind” in their new assignment – to Al Hatra, Iraq to find out how training compares to reality.

Iraq: The Way Out? asks:

How can an army – constitutionally forbidden to operate domestically, such as the US army – train another army to fight, not against foreign enemies in distant lands, but against fellow countrymen, co-religionists, and, even, tribesmen in their own homeland?

Can the Iraqi army be transformed into a non-sectarian, professional fighting force devoted to the nation as a whole and not just to a region or village or sect?

Does this method of embedding a few American soldiers – a transition team – into an Iraqi battalion make sense?

In Iraq, Josh Rushing finds the American soldiers not exactly embedded with the Iraqis who live in shocking conditions compared to their trainers; an Iraqi army with strong regional and tribal ties; and even child soldiers hardly taller than the AK-47s they are employed to wield.

He also uncovers a vantage point of war from within the Iraqi army’s own ranks, far from the din of the daily slaughter in Baghdad, that may very well confound today’s conventional view of Iraq in flames.

Hollywood – Casting the Enemy – Producers: Mariam Shahin and George Azar

Published on Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Hollywood – Casting the Enemy – Producers: Mariam Shahin and George

Al Jazeera’s Josh Rushing talks to some Hollywood’s most prominent Arab voices as he explores Hollywood’s influence on how different cultures precieve one another and the stereotypes that often result.

Hollywood – Casting the Enemy – Part 1

Hollywood – Casting the Enemy – Part 2

Bargaining Chips – Mariam Shahin

Published on Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

I wanted to update you on what is happening with my work for Al Jazeera English and share the last piece that was aired – one week ago.


Bargaining Chips 1 – Al Jazeera English

Bargaining Chips 2 – Al Jazeera English

This Is Palestine

Published on Sunday, April 29th, 2007

In 2005 the United Nations Development Programme asked Mariam Shahin and myself to create something for the school children of Palestine. We decided to focus on the human side of Palestine by answering the questions: “Who are Palestinians and what do they do?”

The project culminated in a book and a companion CD. The CD was distributed to every school in Palestine. I am very proud of our work and want to give it out for the world to enjoy.

Please give me your feedback and feel free to contact me for a signed copy.

Gaza Fixer

Published on Friday, April 27th, 2007

Gaza Fixer by George Azar

Foreign reporters in conflict zones often rely on local ‘fixers’ – people who earn a living helping journalists get their stories. Raed Atharmneh is a fixer living and working in the Gaza Strip.

Film-maker George Azar chose to film Raed’s daily life as he works to provide for 42 clan members. It was supposed to be a straightforward story.

But Raed’s world was about to be turned upside down by a terrible event which put Raed – albeit very briefly – at the very centre of international media attention.

Gaza Fixer Part 1

Gaza Fixer Part 2