October 2015


Beyond Spring

Thursday 15.10.2015 8:00 PM | Saal

Admission: 5 €

Organizer: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ Mayadin al Tahrir e.V.


Arab Film Series - Film Screening and Discussion

Dissidence Stories

Our Terrible Country

D: Mohamed Ali Attasi & Ziad Homsi, Documentary, Syria 2014, 85 min, Arabic with English Subtitles

This road movie portrays the perilous journey of well-known intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh and young photographer Ziad Homsi through Syria, at a time when the country edges towards the brink.


Yassin (53), who spent 16 years in prison for belonging to the Syrian left, goes underground in 2011 to serve Syria’s popular uprising, while Ziad (24) - occasionally fighting with the rebels - takes photographs in his hometown Douma. In this Damascene suburb – where Yassin and his wife Samira Khalil found shelter - the two men meet and become friends.

Together, they embark on an adventurous journey through the desert to al-Haj Saleh’s native town Raqqa in Northeast Syria.

Upon their arrival, Raqqa is occupied by the "Islamic State in Iraq and Levant" (ISIS), which also kidnapped two brothers of Yassin.


BEYOND SPRING - Arab Film Series



In 2010, the Tunisian protest movement triggered a wave of upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa that became known as “the Arab Spring”. However, there is also a history to tell beyond “Spring”.

Since 2014, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN has been highlighting films from several Arab countries as part of the Arab Film Series, with this specific selection of films curated by Viola Shafik.

It aims at exploring some major social and political issues in the region and further our understanding of various dynamics in regards to class, gender and politics in general, as well as explore topics concerning confessionalism, social justice and the question of Palestine.

The screenings will be accompanied by moderated panels with academic experts from the Berlin-based research program Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME) at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.


Viola Shafik, PhD, is a freelance filmmaker, film curator and film scholar. She authored among others Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity, AUC-Press, Cairo, 1998 and Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation, AUC-Press, 2007. She lectured at the American University in Cairo and the Zürich University and is in the selection committee of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab and the Berlinale World Cinema Fund. She directed several documentaries, most notably Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij - Scent of Revolution (2014).

She currently teaches at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.



Salam Said (Institute for World Economics and International Management at Bremen University in 2010)

Salam Said is a Syrian economist. She received her PhD from the Institute for WorldEconomics and International Management at Bremen University in 2010. Since then she has lectured on Arab Economies and political economy of the Arab countries at different universities in Germany. Currently she is lecturing Political Economy of the Arab Countries with the focus on Syria at the Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Political and Social Science. Her research interests focus on Syrian economy, as well as economic policies and socio-economic development in the Arab region. In addition to her publications on the economic issues, she wrote contributions/articles on the link between the socio-ecoomic development and the uprising in Syria. The results of her research on „The Uprising and Economic Interests of the Syrian military“ will be published in the Routledge-St Andrews Syrian Studies series entiteld The Syrian Uprising 2011-2014: Roots and Trajectories, edited by Raymond Hinnebusch and Omar Imady in 2016.

In cooperation with Mayadin al Tahrir e.V. and EUME (Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe).