Charaf Charaf

Journalist and director since 1998. Worked mainly with Arte for news stories and features (2 to 70 minutes). Directed short fiction and music videos.

Media created

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It's All in Lebanon (English)
Beirut, Lebanon
By Charaf
15 Mar 2011

2011
Beirut, Lebanon

Since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, Lebanon has become a hot bed of both entertainment and news media production in the Arab world. Amongst the melee of risque Arabic music videos and luxury television commercials, the Shia political movement Hezbollah has proved to be one of the most media savvy institutions in the country, using film, television, music, and masterful political stagecraft to further its image in the minds of Lebanese and the international community. From the flashy music videos of Haifa Wehbe to the resistance videos of Hezbollah, this film follows the tumultuous post-civil war history of Lebanon through its fertile media industry.

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It's All in Lebanon (French)
Beirut
By Charaf
25 Nov 2014

2011
Beirut, Lebanon

Since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, Lebanon has become a hot bed of both entertainment and news media production in the Arab world. Amongst the melee of risque Arabic music videos and luxury television commercials, the Shia political movement Hezbollah has proved to be one of the most media savvy institutions in the country, using film, television, music, and masterful political stagecraft to further its image in the minds of Lebanese and the international community. From the flashy music videos of Haifa Wehbe to the resistance videos of Hezbollah, this film follows the tumultuous post-civil war history of Lebanon through its fertile media industry.

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Inside Hezbollah Final version
Nabatieh
By Charaf
18 Nov 2014

Shot list:
00:00 - 00:05
A wide shot shows a large billboard featuring portraits of Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria, with Hezbollah and Amal flags around it. The writing at the bottom of the billboard reads: “The Martyrs of Holy Defense.”
00:06 – 00:10
A medium shot shows details of the billboard.
00:11 – 00:14
A medium shot shows a billboard featuring Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.
00:15 – 00:47
Interview with Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below
A medium shot shows young Hezbollah scouts holding large portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader; and Sayyid Abbas al-Mussawi, a Hezbollah Secretary-General assassinated by Israel.
00:48 – 01:15
Various shots show a large number of male Hezbollah supporters wearing uniforms inspired by Ashura and beating their chests as a sign of grief for Imam Hussein.
01:16 – 02:48
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic / interview transcript below
Archive footage of Hezbollah parade in south Beirut; recent footage of children participating in Ashura commemoration in Nabatieh; archive footage of the Lebanese parliament; recent footage of missile launchers and Hezbollah fighters in military fatigues and as part Ashura parade in Nabatieh
02:49 – 03:37
Interview with participant in Ashura commemoration, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below

03:38 – 04:23
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic / interview transcript below
Archive footage shows Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah and fighters during a parade in south Beirut.

Interviews
00:15 – 00:47
Interview with Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below
A medium shot shows young Hezbollah scouts holding large portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader; and Sayyid Abbas al-Mussawi, a Hezbollah Secretary-General assassinated by Israel.
“It is normal that we are at risk from different parties and we should be aware of what is happening around us. It is true we are ready on all fronts against all of the Tafkiris [religious extremists], and even against Israel. This parade, particularly in Nabatieh, is a challenge to the Israelis, so they know we are not afraid of them. This is a big Jihad for us.” 01:16 – 02:48 Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic “Hezbollah defines itself as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation and against any danger that may affect Lebanon. It is a resistance movement that is also involved in politics. It is also an Islamic movement, but it does not practice Islam in politics. Hezbollah has an Islamic doctrine, but it does not apply it in the political agenda it advocates in the Lebanese political arena. It [Hezbollah] is also is merged with other active political parties and movements in the Lebanese scene. “Hezbollah’s legitimacy is derived, firstly, from its partisans [its popular support base]; and secondly from the Taif Agreement [agreement ending the Lebanese civil war], which states that Lebanon shall resist Israel in all possible ways. Its legitimacy is also derived from the Lebanese parliament, since Hezbollah has members in it; and from the Lebanese government, of which it is a part. All of the pervious and current governments have clearly recognized the legitimacy of Hezbollah as a pillar of resistance against Israel. However, the most important thing is that its [Hezbollah’s] legitimacy is obvious and logical because, whenever there is an occupation, there is the right of the population to resist the occupation.”

02:49 – 03:37
Interview with participant in Ashura commemoration, man, Arabic
“Of course, Hezbollah is legitimate as it has liberated the South along with other allied parties including the Amal Movement, the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP) and the Communist Party. “All parties have fought [against Israel]. “Hezbollah’s weapons are targeted against innocent civilians and are not to be used in [civilian] neighborhoods. “It never fought in the streets. It is not only me; everybody says that its weapon is the most honest. Without [its weapons], Lebanon would not exist and there would be no one ruling the country, not even a president of the republic. “On the contrary, the weapons must remain in the hands of Hezbollah, in the hands of the resistance. “More than that, it [Hezbollah] should be more powerful. “We need ten times more rockets. It shall remain and we will protect it.”

03:28 – 04:23
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic
“Hezbollah has qualified and capable leaders in various domains: in politics, in military, social welfare, in security, in culture, in education and in economy. Hezbollah does not have to give a list of its leaders for security reasons, since the enemy, Israel, targets it. It only publishes the names of those who appear in the media. Aside from these [people], Hezbollah does not have to publish the names and tasks of its ranks.”

Hezbollah Fighters Defy ISIS and Israel on Ashura

Giant portraits of Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria tower over the main square in the Lebanese southern city of Nabatieh.
The commemoration of Ashura has taken place every year in this square. It is a tribute to Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and a central figure for Shiite Muslims who was killed more than 1,300 years ago. But Hezbollah’s engagement in defending the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has cast a heavy shadow on this religious occasion.
“We are here today to renew our allegiance to Imam Hussein, who died defending Islam, and also to show a good image of Islam, which other organizations, like ISIS, do not show,” said Ahmad Daifi, a Hezbollah militant in his twenties who was participating in organizing the event. The battle against ISIS and other groups that Hezbollah describes as “takfiri” or extremist has spilled into Lebanon. Explosions as well as attacks across the border, believed to be orchestrated by ISIS and Nusra Front, have shaken the fragile country during the past year. “It is normal that we are at risk from different parties and we should be aware of what is happening around us,” said Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter. Hezbollah and Amal, another major Shiite party, took special measures to secure the crowds against suicide bombings in Nabatieh and other predominantly Shiite areas in Lebanon during Ashura. In Beirut’s southern suburbs, Hezbollah special forces, fully clad in black, were seen for the time on the streets. But Hezbollah claims that the fight against militant groups originating in Syria has not distracted it from its war with Israel. In a speech commemorating Ashura, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah said that his party is winning the fight in Syria and is also ready to retaliate against any Israeli attack.
Hezbollah staged a military parade in front of a large crowd in Nabatieh. Dozens of fighters wearing military fatigues marched behind missile launchers mounted on military trucks. Hezbollah considers missiles the backbone of its arsenal in its fight against Israel, despite a Security Council resolution that put an end to a bloody war with Israel in 2006 and banned the party from stockpiling weapons near the border.
Hezbollah’s opponents, however, say that its ongoing military activities are actually a source of instability, not protection. Sunni and Christian major political forces have repeatedly demanded that the militant group hand over its weapons to the government after Israel withdrew most of its forces from south Lebanon in 2000. The party’s critics have also urged Hezbollah to stop fighting in Syria.
Habib Fayyad, an analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, reiterated the party’s official position in defense of its choice to maintain its weapons.
“Hezbollah’s legitimacy is derived, firstly, from [its popular support base], and secondly from the Taif Agreement [agreement ending the Lebanese civil war], which states that Lebanon shall resist Israel in all possible ways,” Fayyad said. “Its legitimacy is also derived from the Lebanese parliament, since Hezbollah has members in it, and from the Lebanese government, of which it is a part. All of the pervious and current governments have clearly recognized the legitimacy of Hezbollah as a pillar of resistance against Israel,” he added. Hezbollah has had members of the parliament since 1992, when the first elections were organized two years after the end of the 15-year-long civil war. In 2005, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated. The Syrian regime was seen as the culprit behind the attack and Syrian forces withdrew under international and popular pressure. Hezbollah has since participated in government coalitions, which is seen as way to protect its military activities. Four members of Hezbollah were later indicted of Hariri’s killing by an international tribunal, but the party refused to hand them over. Despite a claim that it does use weapons inside Lebanon, Hezbollah fought against the Sunni Future Movement in 2007 when the latter demanded that Hezbollah dismantles its secret telecommunication network. This exacerbated sectarian tensions – Hezbollah was accused of militarily occupying Beirut, a predominantly Sunni city. But Fayyad referred to the Israeli occupation of a small area called Shebaa farms in south Lebanon to say that Hezbollah still has to right to maintain its arsenal.
“The most important thing is that [Hezbollah’s] legitimacy is obvious and logical because, whenever there is an occupation, there is the right of the population to resist the occupation,” he said.

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Hezbollah Observes Ashura
Nabatieh, Lebanon
By Charaf
11 Nov 2014

Rough cuts from Ashura day, November 11, 2014 in Nabatieh, Lebanon.
Interview with Rabih Fayad , and Hezbollah demonstration

November 11, 2014

Nabatieh, Lebanon

Hezbollah commemorated Ashura, the killing of Imam Hussein around 1,400 years ago, amid critical circumstances. The Lebanese militant group’s involvement in Syria’s war to defend the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has weighed heavily on its supporters. Dozens – if not hundreds – of fighters have been killed in fierce battles against Sunni militant groups. The party has also been fire from critics, who accuse the group of causing the Syrian conflict to spill over into Lebanon. The fragile country suffered a series of explosions in the past year. Fighters believed to be affiliated with the Nusra Front and ISIS also attacked Lebanese border areas and took Lebanese soldiers prisoners and executed three of them.
But the Shiite party’s followers seemed defiant when thousands of them took to the streets in several Lebanese cities. Hezbollah’s leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah gave a fiery speech on the day of Ashura, claiming that his party is winning over “takfiris” or religious extremists in Syria. He also said that Hezbollah is prepared to fight against Israel.

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It's All in Lebanon (Arabic w/ Englis...
Beirut
By Charaf
01 Dec 2011

2011
Beirut, Lebanon

Since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, Lebanon has become a hot bed of both entertainment and news media production in the Arab world. Amongst the melee of risque Arabic music videos and luxury television commercials, the Shia political movement Hezbollah has proved to be one of the most media savvy institutions in the country, using film, television, music, and masterful political stagecraft to further its image in the minds of Lebanese and the international community. From the flashy music videos of Haifa Wehbe to the resistance videos of Hezbollah, this film follows the tumultuous post-civil war history of Lebanon through its fertile media industry.

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Water and Sanitary Crisis in Syrian R...
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
By Charaf
14 Mar 2014

Date: 14/03/2014

Location: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

The massive arrival of Syrians in neighboring Lebanon is having an impact on Lebanon's water resources. In the Syrian refugee camps, the availability of water is insufficient for everybody, and is often contaminated. And the country is suffering this year from an exceptional drought. The Litani River has become a sewer. Moreover, the waste management is inadequate for this number of people. The mountains of accumulated waste add to the sanitary hazard during the coming months of summer, when the temperature can go up to 40 degrees Celsius.
In the neighboring Lebanese villages, the poor economy, sanitary and water problems have become nearly impossible to solve. There, Lebanese citizens now openly disapprove of the Syrian presence.

SHOT LIST

− Various shots of Al Ward camp (250 inhabitants), in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon. − Various shots of open-air sewers − Various shots of empty water bottles and reservoirs.

− Interview with Khaled Hassan, camp manager Bite 1" There is a man who has a well nearby. We buy water from him. He sent us a 1-inch hose. We are 55 families depending on this hose, apart from 200 people outside the camp. The owner of the well turns the water on for 2-3 hours a day. By the time the water gets to the end of the camp, the water has been already been turned off. Believe me, some people can't manage to get 5 or 10 liters of water daily. And some families have 10 to 15 kids. They need water for laundry, cleaning etc. And the water is not even drinkable. It's merely for cleaning purposes."

− Various shots of camp manager Khaled Hassan walking in Al Ward camp.

− Interview with Khaled Hassan, camp manager Bite 1 "Look, here is a manual toilet, as we call it. As you can see, there's no water in it. Those people don’t have water for their daily hygienic purposes, for the kids, the women, the men. Water is our biggest problem."
− Bite 2: "The sewage disposal is also problematic. We have no way to dispose of used water. We dig holes, but within a week or 10 days, they get saturated. Take a look, we dug this passage to dispose of our water. Soon, it will start to smell bad, and to carry microbes, viruses, and mosquitoes. It's problematic also because our camp is long and narrow, so sewage is difficult to dispose of. "

− Various shots of camp manager Khaled Hassan walking towards the interior of a tent. − Various shots of children drinking contaminated water.

− Interview with Sami - Syrian refugee, father of the children "Our main problem is water. We aren't drinking clean water. And our children are falling sick. I have 10 kids. They would need 3 or 4 gallons of water daily. But I'm jobless so I can't afford them. If only the water problem could be solved. Every time we drink it, we get sick. When I take the children to the doctor, he says that it's from the water. But I can't get any clean water. We have to drink the water that is provided in the water tanks."

− Shot of clothes hanging. − Various shots of representatives of an NGO visiting camp manager for assessment.

− Interview with Tatiana Kreideh, evaluation officer at "Beyond" association. "The temperature is going to rise in the summer, and the tents are very close to each other, so we expect an increase in diseases and viruses in the camps. For this reason we have already started a campaign against Typhoid and we have already ordered a stock of vaccination units".

− Interview with Saleh Smayli - member of the municipal council of the village of Gaza in the Bekaa valley. "Gaza had 5-thousand inhabitants. With the Syrian brothers, we now have 30-thousand souls. They represent a heavy burden for us. As a municipality, we do no have the capacity or the means to deal with this number."

− Various shots of Saleh Smayli in his car driving in the area of Gaza. − Various shots of Saleh Smayli on a bridge on the Litani River.

− Interview with Saleh Smayli on the bridge on the Litani River. − Bite 1: " This is the Litani River. Normally, in past years, the water would reach up to this wall. Now instead of water flowing, we have sewers, used water from the camps, because the existing infrastructure is no good. So you have only sewage, but no water. The water used to be much higher, but this year it hasn’t rained, there is drought."

− Bite 2: "We expect this year the existing wells to go dry also. There won't be enough water for everyone".

− Various shot of dry bed of Litani River and nearby camp. − Various shots of Saleh Smayli walking to a waste dump opposite the Litani River, a few meters from the camp.

− Interview of Saleh Smayli in front of the garbage dump. − Bite 1:"Just 2 months ago, we got a bulldozer and we buried all the garbage. Look, a few months later, it's already back. " − Bite 2: It's very dangerous for the refugees' health. And we, as municipalities, have very little means".

− Various shots of garbage dump, including a dead cow less than 100 meters from the camp. − Various shots of the downtown of Gaza in the Bekaa valley. − Various shots of Saleh Smayli walking in the street.

− Interview of Saleh Smayli in the streets of Gaza. − Bite 1:"We are under a heavy pressure from the Syrian presence. In every room, in every garage, you have one, two or sometimes three big families. It's a heavy pressure on all the citizens." − Bite 2: "They won't be supportive much longer. Now the people are probably thinking of the day the refugees will be gone so can finally have a break."

− Ahmad - Inhabitant of Gaza:" We can't take the Syrians anymore. We were 4-thousand people, here in the center of the village, not more than that. I am telling you the truth. Now, there are refugees everywhere. There are 17-thousand Syrians. How are we going to take it? It's not their fault, but life here has become terrible. No water, no electricity, garbage everywhere. A small garbage can could do the job at the time. Now even with a big container, you can't collect all the waste. We don't know what to do."

− Ali - Inhabitant of Gaza: "We can sell more in the shops because there are more people. But the Syrians are all unemployed, they get into fights. When you don't work, you have to steal to survive."