Extreme poverty leads to lack of education, lack of education leads to poor judgment, poor judgment leads to poor decisions, and poor decisions leads to a life spiraling downwards.
I know this sounds bleak but this is the consensus I got from watching the Egyptian Documentary “We Have Never Been Kids” which was directed by Mahmoud Soliman yesterday when I went with a friend to see the Arab Documentary Film Week currently shown in Amman.
The film follows the life of Nadia and her kids. She is a single working mom striving to raise and provide for her children, so she worked in the streets of Cairo sharpening knives using a power tool machine.
Like many Egyptians, she was filled with hope for her family after Husni Mubarak was swept from power, but in fact her family’s life became worse due to poverty and an economy getting worse. Like many, she was hit with the reality that little change did occur in the society, the economy, and the level of corruption seen in her world. As a result, her kids did not complete their education and they ended up getting odd jobs. Her daughter got married early, thus repeating her mistake, and life just went from bad to worse for this family. The last scene in the movie shows one of her sons contemplating joining ISIS and one of her sons disappearing.
In fact, this is one film that doesn’t leave you with warm fuzzy feelings of hope. You leave feeling pretty sad about life and the saddest part about the film is that it is not embellished, it is not garnished with cinematic effects, and not enhanced with great music. It is real, and it is a realization that all communities to combat poverty before anything else.
The most gullible people are the poor because they are willing to do anything and everything to better their own situations. Of course, you do get the exception but this is the norm. Maybe our biggest problem is not politics it is economics, because politics feeds on the vulnerability of victims of poor economies.
Sad yes, but this is an interesting eye opening movie to watch that offers food for thought.
On a happier note, for those of you who say Amman is boring, I disagree you just need to look around because it is an interesting city full of interesting events and many of these events are free of charge. What is nice is that many people do show up to these events and they do share an interest in broadening their own horizons. Maybe some of them are just bored, but at least they are doing something useful with their time.