The FIPRESCI jury was lucky enough to have two brilliant moderators and guides who did way more then could have been expected of them. This Smuggling TV is for them and starring them. It‘s four videos, one for each of them, one for a ghost house and one of the refugees in the distance. The first takes place after the actual party, when we made good of our promise of getting shisha with Yasser.
Duhok is not a dry city like some cities in this part of the world, it‘s never really difficult to find beer or wine, but wine is not as central to social life here as it is in Europe. Instead they have tea and shisha. A water pipe that takes five hours to finish (I‘m told, we didn’t finish, since the time was already quite late).
And to have shisha with an expert like Yasser helps you understand the culture better. The shisha is a way of expression, of creation, this is about creating clouds, draw pictures into the air itself. This is also an unusually good way to enjoy each other‘s company silently, particularly when there are only two left and conversation becomes complicated, since one is always smoking. That‘s a perfect time to put on some good music, since you rarely hear the music better then when you‘re waiting for the next smoke.
(And of course this is very dangerous and unhealthy, so try it just once, only once, just to know what you are talking about.)
But let us rewind – to daylight hours – and lets go up the mountain. Zawa mountain to be precise, towering over the town. A great view of Duhok, here people also come to drink tea and smoke sisha, but also sweethearts that don‘t want to be seen. Not to mention buskers on motorbikes. Lets allow Roj to explain this to us – and pardon the sound, those mountains are full of wind.
When you have finished listening to Roj you can look at that brilliant unfinished house, here most houses are unfinished – this is appearantly a future restaurant, but that restaurant will never be quite as majestic as this ghost house with it‘s spectacular stairway to heaven.
Finally, in the distance, on the other side of the mountain, there are fields of white. Those are the refugee camps, Syrian refugees, nobody knows how many, half a million, one million, two million – here all numbers are fleeting, uncertain.
Text & videos: Ásgeir H Ingólfsson