A documentary on the conflict between conservation, tourism and land rights at Wadi Rum, Jordan
A documentary on the conflict between conservation, tourism and land rights at Wadi Rum in Jordan. The springs of Wadi Rum have long been an important stopping point for the nomadic Bedouin with their herds, and the area recognised as part of their tribal lands. In recent decades, the natural beauty of Wadi Rum has attracted increasing numbers of tourists, with the Bedouin developing a lucrative business in jeep tours of the desert. Unfortunately, tyre tracks and litter now scar many popular areas.
Recently, realising the economic potential of Wadi Rum tourism, and without consultation, the government expropriated the land and declared it a protected area. World Bank loans are being used to develop the tourist infrastructure, and zoning and planning controls introduced.
Not unnaturally, the Bedouin see this as an assault on their rights, freedoms and livelihoods. It is argued that the Bedouin fail to appreciate the impact that motor vehicles are having, lack effective self-regulation, and don’t understand the area’s wider importance. Is this just global business masquerading as conservation? Or does the State have a valid claim to the land, given Jordan’s shortage of natural resources?
The film explores these different perspectives, with interviews from a large number of individuals, and sequences illustrating the changing nature of ‘traditional’ Bedouin life.
A humanist documentary series and research project focusing on the lifestyle of nomadic fishermen living in Nigeria, Niger and Mali.
"For most people, the Sahel is associated to famines and conflicts, rebellions and jihadism, military putsch and the like. This indeed happens and the media as well as documentary movies are good at promoting this kind of information.
This project is markedly different. Following the tradition of the humanist cinema and photography, our aim is to show the beauty of the daily life of people and their humanist values (solidarity, tolerance, respect and dignity). It sounds a bit romantic, I admit. What we would like to present is an alternative picture of what life in the Sahel looks like among ordinary citizens. Beyond the exotism of the landscape, the language, the pinnaces and the wild life, we want to mirror something that connect us to the everyday life of sedentary people of the global North who encounter migrants and other mobile people, people who eventually have chosen to move to make a living.
The movement of people from one place to another echoes the concept of mobility. And, of course, those of strangerness and strangerhood. These dimensions are particularly present in this project that points out that ‘all people here come from someplace else’ (‘tous les gens d’ici sont d’ailleurs’).
Moving and settling. Again, moving and resettling. From the village to the city, or the other way around. From one region, one country, one continent to another. Everywhere, the wanderer, the stranger has to redefine his/her identities and belonging(s) and to renegotiate its social status in order to access resources or rights.
In a world governed by sedentary people, nomadic people have long been the ideal scapegoat of the problems in the society. None the less strangers may also well be those who come with resources. The river nomads in this documentary movie are no exceptions to it (forthcoming movie nr. 2 and 3)."