A Sip of Coffee: Nahr al-Bared Camp, Lebanon

In May 2007, the battle between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army broke out in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon.  Amidst heavy fighting, the Lebanese army had systematically destroyed the entire camp by September 2007.  Two years later, nearly all the rubble has been cleared from the “old camp,” the core of Nahr al-Bared.  However, though the displaced residents grow increasingly desperate, reconstruction has yet to begin.

Not only does the Lebanese army keep people away from the old camp, but it also controls movement in and out of the surrounding area known as the “new camp.”  Anyone entering the new camp requires a valid permit issued by the army.  Refugees and NGOs working to revitalize the once robust economy of the camp face crippling isolation, as the marketplace of Nahr al-Bared is totally cut off from the surrounding villages.  A flailing economy and soaring unemployment are only a few of the consequences of the destruction and ongoing siege of the camp.

This 26-minute film follows a father and his son as they attempt to deal with their unemployment.  The two have been living in metal barracks for more than a year, waiting to return to their camp.  By documenting issues of reconstruction, temporary housing, economy, unemployment, and despair, the film touches on the daily experience of life in Nahr al-Bared camp.

A-films is an autonomous anarchist film collective.  It holds video workshops in the Middle East and Europe and produces short films.  Friends across the globe help the collective with the translations of its films and its blog.  Members of the collective are extremely grateful for their support.  However, additional translators are welcome.  Please contact them if you feel like contributing.  Contact: .  This film was first brought online on 10 June 2009.