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A Family Living in a Cemetery in Saudi Arabia

A Family Living in a Cemetery in Saudi Arabia


Written by Haifa Alrasheed

Away from the political scene and on a more human level, a short movie shot by young Saudi filmmaker Bader AlHomoud named “Almagbarah,” which translates to cemetery in Arabic, has changed the life of a Saudi family. Bader describes the montage phase in his tweet [ar]:

Today I got depressed while editing a movie that will make you all depressed too

The three-minute movie, posted below from YouTube, shows a Saudi family living in a cemetery. It has no script, nor a dialog. It features members of the family and their children playing around the cemetery and the abject poverty they live in.

Saudi tweeps were emotionally touched by the movie and below are some of their reactions under the hashtag #ma8barah.

@MarwanAlrouqi describes the logic behind the location [ar]:

Dear Saudi citizen, for your convince we picked you a residence that is far away from the noise and close to your resting place!

@hayaalshatti asks [ar]:

Did we reach the point in which I have to expose my life in order to get some dignity? Woe to those who robbed them of their dignity!

And in reaction to the video, which has been watched more than 148,000 times on YouTube, smartman7779 says [ar]:

This is sad, I cried watching it! Thank God for my circumstances

Three hours after publishing the movie, Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, who is Vice-Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees and Head of the Executive Committee of the Al-Waleed bin Talal Foundations, announced on her Twitter [ar] account:

Al-Waleed bin Talal Charity Foundation will provide the family with a permanent residence, we are currently contacting Bader AlHomoud

@malsahli [ar] comments:

If the creative Bader did not shed light on this family they would have been still living behind the skyscrapers and forgotten!

and @essamz stresses on the power of the social media:

A three minute movie solves a problem in three hours.. that is the power of the new media!

Two days later, @BaderAlHomoud announces:

The family received a car from an anonymous donor

This post was originally published by Global Voices.


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Photo: screenshot from the above Youtube video

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4:58PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Thank you.

4:57PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Thank you.

7:55AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

It says "This Video is Private" so I didn't get to see it. But by reading the story, it only took 3 hours to find them a residence and then a car, 2 days later. That is amazing!!!

3:34PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

shame the video is private great tho that the family is getting the necessary help now

9:08AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Can't look at the footage, it says it is private!! Anyway, I'm glad this family have had a happy ending. It's nice to see the internet being used for good, I hope they are very happy in their new home :-)

5:09AM PST on Feb 9, 2012

I love happy endings!

1:13PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Another example of the challenges of poverty around the world...not the time to reduce humanitarian aid budgets so that more is required later for war due to the eventual societal impacts of wealth disparity leading to revolutions.

4:06AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:33PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

very sad

8:18AM PST on Feb 3, 2012

And the American Government thinks we've got it bad.

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