Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege (فلسطين الصغرى)
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The district of Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria, sheltered the largest Palestinian refugee camp in the world from 1957 to 2018. When the Syrian revolution broke out, Bashar Al-Assad’s regime saw Yarmouk as a refuge of rebels and resistance, besieging the camp from 2013 onwards. Gradually deprived of food, medicine and electricity, Yarmouk was cut off from the rest of the world. Filmmaker Abdallah Al-Khatib was born in Yarmouk, living there until his expulsion by Daesh in 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, he documented the besieged inhabitants’ daily lives, who chose to face bombing, displacement and hunger with rallying, study, music, love and joy.
Countless lives were irremediably transformed by the war and siege—from Abdallah’s mother, who became a nurse taking care of the elders of the camp, to the fiercest activists whose passion for Palestine became gradually undermined by hunger. Al-Khatib accompanies each increasingly heartbreaking scene with his odic and often incisive view of the situation. Indeed, ‘Little Palestine’ can be difficult watch to watch at times because of the deeply affecting subject matter—but a rewarding and poignant experience, one that speaks truth to power and is a testament to the resilience of the beleaguered people of Yarmouk.