Film “Nahr al-Bared” Screened Showing Camp Conflict

The Cinema Club at Birzeit University Deanship of Student Affairs and the Palestine Arab Studies program presented the film, "Nahr al-Bared," directed by Sandra Madi. The film describes the five-year conflict that erupted between the Lebanese Armed Forces and a previously unknown Islamist fundamentalist group called Fatah al-Islam inside Nahr al-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp 16 km north of Tripoli in Lebanon.

The 80-minute documentary film shows the suffering of the Palestinian refugees during the conflict in 2007, which resulted in their displacement.

Director Madi portrays the unity and solidarity between the camp residents, as she lives the sit-in strikes, meetings, peaceful demonstrations and funerals of the dead. The film shows camp streets amid fear and destruction and the hum of army bullets, while the camera reflects the camp residents’ insistence on their rights and legitimate demands.

Before the crisis, Nahr al-Bared had been integrated with the surrounding (Lebanese) municipalities through social and economic ties. In particular, due to its location on the highway from Tripoli to Syria and the lack of Lebanese policing inside the camp, it became an economic hub for Lebanese looking to buy smuggled goods from Syria. The camp’s relative legal vacuum also attracted producers from Akkar, an impoverished agricultural region north of Tripoli in which the camp is located. For example, farmers who could not afford to register their cars would sell their produce in Nahr al-Bared instead of Tripoli, which has many checkpoints and thus posed a greater risk of getting caught.