By Alia Atef
Do you ever have one of those days were you feel like you should be doing something with your life, but can’t seem to get out of bed? Well, of course you do! I mean you’re human after all, but instead of giving in and binge watching another season of Supernatural and feeling so bad as though you murdered someone, do yourself a favor and watch a documentary. Not only do you get to stay in bed and actually feel like you’re doing something with your life.
I’ve rounded up a list of some of the best Arab documentaries. Not only are they thought-provocative, but they are beautifully made and offer different perspectives on stories that hit close to home.
The Light in Her Eyes
This documentary is centered around Houda Al Habish, a remarkable Syrian woman who managed to defy all odds and create a Quran school for girls when she was just seventeen. This documentary not only tackles all the struggles Arab women go through everyday just to be heard, but Houda’s exciting tale not only serves as a reminder of the strength of Arab women but acts as an inspiration to all girls out there Arabs and non–Arabs.
Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilified the People
We are obsessed with Hollywood no matter how much we try to deny it, but as Arabs we are continually upset about our portrayal as villainous terrorists, this documentary not only clarifies this phenomena but it explains the history behind it, as well as the effect if these stereotypes continue to be left unchallenged.
This story has already been made famous by the media, but this documentary goes in depth of the story of Amina Filali who was forced to marry her alleged rapist and then committed suicide. Not only will this story linger with you long after the documentary ends, but it managed to force people to talk about sexual violence in Morocco, a topic that was considered to be off-limits.
Homeland Iraq Year Zero
No other documentary showcases the true effect of the U.S invasion on Iraq better than this one. This award winning documentary manages to convey the hardships and triumphs of everyday people, viewers will not only be moved but shocked by the differences between this movie and media coverage of this heartbreaking tale.
This riveting documentary highlights the story of a Jordanian man who lives in Mohamed Al Zawahiri’s (an Islamist Jihadi leader) hometown. It shows the everyday struggles of the man and his family as they are forced to defend themselves while struggling with their own identities and beliefs, truly a must watch for all Muslims and Arabs who are repeatedly asked to defend their actions and themselves every day.
Slaves of Caliphate
Tells the story of the attempt to free a Yazidi women captured by ISIS, and the horrors they are subjected too are worse than anything we could imagine. This 30 minute documentary serves as a reminder of the true danger ISIS and why they need to be stopped immediately.
The story of how young men refuse to let their voices be stifled and insist on using their talent to not only express themselves and their beliefs but to help their lives and the lives of their loved ones better.
Yeah I know it might sound like a cliché, but there is a reason it was nominated for an Oscar, exquisitely made the story is one we have all lived through and experienced firsthand. The Square is about the Egyptian Jan 25th revolution.