El 3ama created a video in response to BBC Pop Up’s documentaries about Lebanon. It’s mentioned in the video that the team “chose the topics that best fit [their] interests”.
BBC Pop Up is BBC’s mobile bureau. It consists of a team that goes to different cities for a month at a time to make documentaries.
This year, on January 25, BBC Pop Up announced on twitter that its team is going to Lebanon to make documentaries about it.
In response, many Lebanese people suggested the team to visit historical sites, taste delicious food, and enjoy the beauty of Lebanon. The961 also tweeted topics that would be interesting to cover:
Lebanese people are known to leave for a better life. However, there are people who are returning. Cover their story— The961 (@The961) January 25, 2017
We’re best known for our food and hospitality. Everyone in the world has tasted Lebanese food.. but come show them the real kind!— The961 (@The961) January 25, 2017
However, it seems like all the positive stories were ditched and, instead, these are the documentaries that BBC Pop Up made along with El 3ama’s comments:
#1 ‘As they sell us terrorism, we sell them drugs’ – Meeting a Lebanese drug lord
“You have visited specific areas of the Bekaa valley, met a powerful drug lord, his tribe, and got exposed to weapons and mountains of hash. You have met police representatives who found themselves helpless because some families are more powerful than the government. It’s the sad truth, but you know what? Tell us something we don’t know!”
It is reasonable to ask the following question: How did they manage to meet a powerful drug lord that cannot be caught by the authorities?
#2 Tripoli: Accused of being extremists
“You have portrayed scenes of war and destruction, and obviously extremism: armed militants on the streets, fighters walking publicly, guns, army, tanks, bullet holes, and damaged buildings […] brainwashed kids… Chicken on the streets man! Are you kidding?”
#3 The Syrian refugees turning to sex to survive
“Out of more than 1.6 million refugees, of course, you’re gonna have a percentage of prostitutes, you’re gonna have a percentage of beggars, you have workers, you have students, you have everything. […] There’s a bit of everything in any civilization in the world, Ben.”
#4 Gay, trans and illegal in Lebanon
“You know Ben, we’ve come to an era where being gay is being more and more accepted. So some people accept it, and others don’t. This is life and it’s a fact. It’s an international topic, it happens everywhere, so I don’t see why you want to come to Lebanon and cover this.”
Was BBC Pop Up’s team aware that Lebanon is misrepresented? YES!
Lebanon through the eyes of the Lebanese people
Ghayd Chammas, the man behind El 3ama’s page, concluded his video by telling what Lebanon and Lebanese people really are:
“Let me tell you who we are. Our parents lived 25 years of hell and civil war. The impact of that war made us resilient, strong, and powerful. Each one of us is pursuing a dream. We don’t go for normal, we are ambitious.”
“We’re 4.5 million in Lebanon and a worldwide presence of over 15 million. We’ve always been ready to stand tall and face any situation. That’s why we earned respect, that’s why we’re successful, each person in his own way.”
“[…] Talk about the awesome festivals and exhibitions, the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are already doing wonders in every corner of the world.”