I am a British freelance journalist based in London specialising in the Middle East and Africa. A specialist in politics, economics, energy and human rights issues, I have covered the region for 10 years. I have a particular interest in telling stories of national and international significance through the voices of local people most affected by these issues. I have travelled extensively through the region, reporting on the major issues of the day and interviewing government ministers and key figures in business and non-governmental organisations. I have been published and broadcast by organisations including the BBC, Reuters, The Economist, The Independent, Foreign Policy and The Financial Times. I have made media appearances on international TV networks and consulted on Middle East programming for the BBC. I write, shoot photographs and video on my Nikon D7000, and work with a London-based filmmaker and editor using a Canon 5D and Avid/Final Cut Pro editing suite. I am currently making a film about the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on impoverished people in Jordan entitled The Second Crisis, and a documentary on the national wheelchair basketball team of South Sudan, entitled Lions and Tigers
This film tells the story of the world’s worst refugee crisis from the perspective of impoverished local Jordanians in the town of Mafraq, northern Jordan, whose lives have been thrown into poverty and chaos by the influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into their town.
More than 600,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Jordan, a country of just 6.5 million. The focus of media attention has been on the 120,000 refugees at the Za’atari refugee camp in Northern Jordan. But the majority of refugees are seeking accommodation in Jordan’s towns, particularly those in the north of Jordan near the Syrian border.
Tens of thousands of refugees have arrived in Mafraq alone, doubling the population of the small town. Overwhelmed with refugees, many residents of Mafraq can no longer afford to support their families, and face eviction from their homes. Water and electricity are becoming increasingly scarce.
This film tells the story of these people. In moving interviews with impoverished local people in their Mafraq homes, they explain that they face eviction from their homes if they cannot meet demands for large rent increases from their landlords.
With Syrians arriving in Jordan every day, the situation is rapidly deteriorating. If the rate of arrivals continues, there will soon be one Syrian refugee for every family in Jordan. This film raises awareness of this tragic situation before it’s too late.
Fatmeh Owaid (42) & Ali Suleiman Khaled (37)
Fatmeh and Ali, who have two children – one of whom is disabled – tell of how hard their life has become since the arrival of the Syrian refugees in their town. They face increased electricity and food costs, and difficulty in finding jobs, they are losing some of the support they had from local charities, and they have been threatened with eviction by their landlord if they cannot meet his demands to increase their rent.
Hanan Ahmed Jadaan (31)
Hanan, who has five children, one of whom has a disability, explains how she faces demands to increase her rent, and that she has been served with an eviction notice by her landlord. She was involved in a protest where local Jordanians set up their own camp to bring attention to their plight. Her husband, who also has a disability, is struggling to find any work.
Amal Awad Oden (32)
Amal, who has six children, one of whom has a disability, has been asked to more than double her rent payment. Her husband too has been unable to find a job.
Description of various shots in the video
• Various shots of: The Jordan-Syria border • Various shots of: The town of Mafraq and the road from Amman to Mafraq • Various shots of: Family homes in Mafraq • Various shots of: The city of Amman
A day after South Sudan celebrated the first anniversary of its independence from Sudan on 9th July 2012, it held its first ever international football game to be recognised by FIFA, the world game’s governing body. The opponents were Uganda. A tightly contested game, in which Uganda were reduced to 10 men, resulted in a 1-1 draw.
The creaking stands of the Juba football stadium were filled to capacity, with many more spectators sitting in the sand by the touchline, or finding vantage points on the stadium walls, atop vehicles outside the group, and even on the top of a startlingly precarious advertising hoarding on the other side of the road from the stadium.
The game was held at a time of tension between South Sudanese and Ugandans. A large proportion of the working population in South Sudan’s capital Juba is of Ugandan origin, causing resentment among some locals who believe that these jobs should be reserved for South Sudanese – even in the absence of a qualified labour force. In 2012, on the South Sudanese side of the border with Uganda, the tension spilled over into violence, and Ugandan workers were attacked by locals on several occasions.
As a result of these tensions – and because security had already been heightened around the independence day anniversary celebrations – South Sudan’s first international football game was heavily policed. But while fans of both sides were noisy and enthusiastic throughout the game, there was no trouble.
Here, the crowd uses every inch of Juba stadium and fans clamber onto cars parked outside the ground in order to catch a glimpse of South Sudan’s first ever international football game.
This short film reveals the untold story of the devastating impact that the Syrian refugee crisis is having on the most vulnerable people in Jordan.
It tells the story of the world’s worst refugee crisis from a unique perspective: that of the local Jordanians whose lives have been thrown into poverty and chaos by the influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees into their towns and cities.
By the end of 2013, more than 600,000 Syrian refugees had arrived in Jordan, a country of just 6.5 million.
Their towns overwhelmed with refugees, many Jordanians can no longer afford to support their families, and face eviction from their homes. Water and electricity are becoming increasingly scarce.
In moving interviews with impoverished local people in the towns of Mafraq and Ramtha, I was told how rents are tripling, people face eviction from their homes, and tension and violence are growing.
With Syrians arriving in Jordan every day, the situation is rapidly deteriorating. If the rate of arrivals continues, by the end of the year, there will be one Syrian refugee for every family in Jordan.
This short film is the basis for a 20-30 minute documentary that is currently in post-production. This documentary is independently produced and I am looking for broadcast outlets for this piece.
If you are interested in purchasing either the short film or the documentary, please get in touch.