Beirut Parc (2016)

A refugee soccer camp in ‘Beirut Parc’ (2016)

Refugees comprise 20% of the population of Lebanon. If the USA had a similar percentage, the entire populations of New York and California would be refugees. To counter the effects of such chaos on Lebanon, international organizations like the United Nations try to help the children.

If you look at Beirut in Google maps, there are almost no green areas, much less soccer fields. In 2016, the Goethe-Institute conducted a soccer camp in Lebanon, supplying 900 children with uniforms, cleats, and a place to play for a week. For most of the kids in the camp, it was their first time on a football pitch.

If only more Americans would watch Beirut Parc. There is so much to learn from DW Journalists Matthias Frickel and Henning Hesse, who communicate the stories of several refugee children and their parents. There are two Syrian teenage females named Rim, who were unable to attend school for 2 years. Says one girl,

“Football is balm to my soul. Through football, we forget the trauma we’ve been through. When we play football, we forget all the bad things.”

11 year old Adam lives in the Shatila refugee camp for Palestinians, which was created 70 years ago. Now Syrians have joined them. To accommodate the influx of more people, buildings move higher up. Adam lives on a rooftop, in rooms without walls. Adam’s 16 year old brother, Youssef, has made it to a high school outside of Shatila, where he plays football.

“Football is our only hope. Because no work, nothing. …Lebanese teams can take only one Palestinian.”

The United Nations funds a school for the refugees in Shatila, as they are not allowed to attend Lebanese schools. Palestinians are only allowed to be in 60-70 professions. They cannot be doctors or lawyers.

The directors also cover a Lebanese girl, Rula, who is good at multiple sports and plays football with the refugee girls.

I have also reviewed the 2015 film  People of Nejmeh, which pertains to professional football in Beirut. Nejmeh is another good film that educates the viewer with the history of conflict in Beirut from the 20th century to present day. Beirut Parc gives you an idea of how the children cope.

7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7