Imagine that you move to a new neighborhood. Your new neighbors are very friendly, and you spend a lot of time hanging out with them. They cook you delicious dinners. You become friends with the children you play with.
Now imagine that the woman who cooked for you had a son who was tortured and killed. On the anniversary of his death, another son was killed. The boy you play with refuses to go to school due to the trauma from his previous school being bombed. Each of these friendly, kind people has a story you can barely imagine. This was the experience of the makers of Salam Neighbor.
Some of the people who had seen what it was like to live on one dollar a day decided to film their lives in a Jordanian camp for Syrian refugees in order to better understand the stories of the people living there. They realized that while many of their neighbors had come with apparently so little, some with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, they still possessed dignity, creativity, and willingness to work hard. In the process, they turned their camp of tents and trailers into a city with a bustling economy.
Nonetheless, half of the children in the camp do not attend school. Jobs outside the camp are extremely difficult to come by. The camp lacks plumbing and adequate sanitation or electricity. International aid is slow in coming. Salam Neighbor portrays both the humanity of the refugees and the hardships of the places they have fled from and to. It is a call for help, saying, see how much these people have done with so little? What could they do with a little bit more help and empathy?
My summary cannot adequately convey the stories told in the film. I would highly recommend watching it when and if you can. والسلام عليكم
Image credits: https://fairfieldtheatre.org/sites/default/files/styles/events/public/event_images/2015_1022_Salam-Neighbor_Website-Banner_Tent-w-Arabic.jpg