SEASON TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN

WITNESS

PARIS: VOICE OF THE SUBURBS

EPISODE 1

STORYLINE
Widad Ketfi is a bold journalist for Bondy Blog, a news outlet set up to give young journalists in Paris' deprived suburbs an opportunity to shape their own narrative and combat negative stereotypes depicted in the mainstream media.One of the issues Widad feels most strongly about is the social inequalities that begin at school - her next assignment for the blog.For Widad's investigation, she travels around the suburbs of Paris, where she meets locals, teachers and students, while trying to track down the national education minister for an all-important interview.In an area where one in five people are out of work - double the national average - Widad sees education as key to empowering so many dispossessed youth, as it did in her own experience.The blo


AUSTRALIA: CREATING A NATION

EPISODE 2

STORYLINE
Three years ago, Jeremy Geia was a well-paid political journalist reporting from Australia's capital.But he doesn't exist anymore.Murrumu Walubara, as he is now known, has taken a tribal name, renounced Australian citizenship and abandoned two decades worth of savings.He has returned to his ancestral land in northeast Australia, where he has set about creating an indigenous nation with its own laws and institutions.Witness follows Murrumu during his impassioned weekly radio broadcast to promote the newly-announced state, at citizen swearing-in ceremonies, and travelling to Canberra to lobby Australian ministers and foreign embassies for recognition.Will he be greeted as a publicity-seeking activist or will his calls for independence be taken seriously


THE ARCHIPELAGO

EPISODE 3

STORYLINE
The inhabitants of the stunning Faroe Islands pride themselves on their self-sustainability and respectful affinity with their environment.As director Benjamin Huguet films, in sometimes shocking scenes, they are used to raising and hunting their own food. But with international protests against whale hunting and the introduction of new regulations, they have to question the future of their traditions.


GURKHA SCHOOL

EPISODE 4

STORYLINE
Behind the scenes at Nepal's Gurkha recruitment camp as young men compete to join the elite British army brigade.


IN THE VALLEY OF GUNS AND ROSES

EPISODE 5

STORYLINE
In the heart of Bulgaria's Rose Valley, Irina is desperate to give her four-year-old daughter, Stefi, a better start in life. She is struggling single mother, working two jobs to put food on the table. Her main source of income comes from her dangerous work at a weapons factory where she measures and packs gunpowder into artillery shells.Struggling to pay the rent, bills, and Stefi's kindergarten fees, she moves out of her parents' rural village to be closer to her work - despite not knowing whether she can afford it.Her only respite is singing, a talent taught to her by her late grandfather, which she uses to sing for extra money in local restaurants.But as the rent and bills stack up, Irina is forced to take on a third job offering high-interest loans to equally desperate friends and family.This is an intimate story about poverty and the price a mother is prepared to pay to ensure a better life for her child.


JAPAN'S WAR GAME

EPISODE 6

STORYLINE
Every year cadets at Japan's National Defense Academy prepare to battle each other in a fierce sport called Botaoshi.Up to 300 players square off in an attempt to pull down a three-metre pole held upright by the opposing team.These young men are training to become future leaders in Japan's Self-Defense Forces, and see the game as a test of their physical strength and strategic abilities.With Japan recently passing new laws that allow its troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War II, the cadets are more determined than ever to excel.Witness follows the captains of two Botaoshi battalions, each deploying different tactics to lead their team to victory.


BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL

EPISODE 7

STORYLINE
Approximately 100 women defiantly cling to their ancestral homeland in Chernobyl's radioactive 'Exclusion Zone.' While most of their neighbours have long since fled and their husbands have gradually died off, this stubborn sisterhood is hanging on - even, oddly, thriving - while trying to cultivate an existence on toxic earth.Hanna, Maria and Valentya chose to return after the 1986 nuclear disaster, defying authorities and endangering their health. They share this hauntingly beautiful but lethal landscape with an assortment of scientists, soldiers and young thrill seekers.Now, 30 years after the disaster, they also share their remarkable tales of survival.More from Witness on:YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYTFacebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


PAKISTAN: NO PLACE LIKE HOME

EPISODE 8

STORYLINE
In the remote Pakistan village of Hakimwala, farmers battle a deadly pest that is ruining their cotton crops. Many find it difficult to afford the pesticide and face mounting debts.The elders of the village encourage the young men to travel abroad to earn better pay and help lift the village out of poverty.Twenty-eight-year-old Sharif has lived in Hakimwala all his life. He is an only son and drives the only car in the village. He is responsible for driving the sick to the city hospital three hours away.But with the infestation of his cotton crops and rising debts, Sharif decides it is time to seek his fortune elsewhere.Sharif decides to go to Dubai despite warnings from his friends. The villagers sell the car and his family sells their hard-earned lands to cover his expenses.For the first time in his life, Sharif leaves his village, flies in an airplane and experiences a foreign land. In spite of mounting debts, Sharif is about to learn that there is more to life than money. Or is thereMore from Witness on:YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYTFacebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


CHINA'S FAKE BOYFRIENDS

EPISODE 9

STORYLINE
Having recently turned 27, Li Chenxi has reached the age at which unmarried women in China are labelled 'sheng nu' or 'leftover women'.It's a stigma that carries deep ramifications within her social life, workplace and especially among her family. But with a blossoming career in Beijing, Li Chenxi has no desire to get married.As Chinese New Year looms she makes her annual journey home to face greater than ever expectations.In search of a solution that staves off the marital pressures, Li Chenxi decides to commit the ultimate deception: She hires a handsome boyfriend in Beijing to take home to meet her family and friends.What could possibly go.


MAKING A CHINESE MAN

EPISODE 10

STORYLINE
According to The Economist, more than a million Chinese households a month have moved into the middle class since 2000.Like many other young Chinese, Chen Guojie is desperate to earn a wage and stand on his own feet.He has no desire to take over the tiny silk factory his parents risked everything to build in eastern China. He wants a higher paid, less stressful job in the city.But achieving the Chinese dream isn't easy. Witness follows Guojie over four years as he fights the urge to drop out of university, tackles problems at home and finds the love of his life.A coming of age story about big dreams and difficult decisions in a country changing at an extraordinary pace.More from Witness on:YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYTFacebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


RACHEL'S HIV REVOLUTION

EPISODE 11

STORYLINE
In Burkina Faso, one women challenges stigma and educates mothers on how to prevent transmitting HIV to their children.


AMBULANCE: THE STORY OF THE 2014 WAR ON GAZA

EPISODE 12

STORYLINE
During the 2014 war on Gaza, a Palestinian filmmaker joins an ambulance crew as they try to save lives.


AN INNOCENT WARRIOR

EPISODE 13

STORYLINE
It looks like we don't yet have a storyline for this episode.


SYRIA'S WHITE HELMETS

EPISODE 14

STORYLINE
Life under the bombs with a team of White Helmet rescue workers in Syria's most dangerous city, Aleppo.


ZAMBIA'S BOXING STAR

EPISODE 15

STORYLINE
Esther Phiri has literally had to fight hard to carve out an independent life on her own terms. In her native Zambia, the seven-time world champion boxer is an icon for women who pursue their dreams in defiance of tradition. In this film we understand why: she is a deeply charismatic and determined woman –and she can knock anybody out. Before becoming a boxer, Esther gave up her education in order to support her family and instead invested in her meteoric boxing career, despite the pressure to marry and have children. More from Witness on: YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYT Facebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


GHOSTS OF MEDELLIN

EPISODE 16

STORYLINE
Margarita Restrepo has been searching for her daughter who disappeared during the Colombian civil war more than a decade ago. She believes her daughter's body may be in a mass grave on the edge of the infamous Comuna 13 slum in Colombia's second largest city, Medellin. Many of those who disappeared at this time are believed to be victims of the notorious military operation known as 'Orion'. In this operation, government soldiers and paramilitary death squads worked together to 'disappear' opponents. As Margarita struggles to find her missing daughter, she meets the lead forensic investigator working on the grave site hoping to find closure for the families. Also assisting with this process is a former death squad commander, 'Mobile 8'. Now behind bars, 'Mobile 8' provides a rare account into the operations behind the 'disappearances' and potential insight into what may have happened to Margarita's daughter. More from Witness on: YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYT Facebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


HONG KONG'S ROOFTOP REBELS

EPISODE 17

STORYLINE
Airin and her friends are rooftoppers in Hong Kong. They refuse to play by the rules and sneak to the top of the city’s soaring skyscrapers. But their high-rise antics are not just for thrills. Two years after the pro-democracy ‘Umbrella Movement’ was cleared from the streets, many young people are in a state of despair. They're anxious about their futures - from unaffordable housing and wealth inequality to the growing influence of Mainland China. Airin believes their defiant stunts can inspire others to stand up against powerful elites. Will they mobilise Hong Kongers to fight for change, or just land themselves in a lot of trouble More from Witness on: YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYT Facebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


FOR SARDAR: THE AFGHAN JOURNALIST

EPISODE 18

STORYLINE
Devastated by the murder of their best friend, Afghan journalist Esmat Kohsar and American reporter Courtney Body investigate the truth about what happened on the night of March 20, 2014. Just two and a half weeks before the Afghan presidential elections, journalist Sardar Ahmad, his wife and their two children were killed while having dinner at a restaurant in Kabul's most distinguished hotel. While the Taliban immediately claimed responsibility, Courtney and Esmat believe there is more to the story. For Sardar: The Afghan Journalist tracks their struggles as they grapple with their own dedication to journalism and love for the country of Afghanistan, while finally coming face to face with the loss of their friend. More from Witness on: YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYT Facebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


THE TREK: A NEW LIFE IN GERMANY

EPISODE 19

STORYLINE
In 2015, more than 500,000 refugees arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos in Europe's biggest immigration crisis since World War II. For many of them, their final destination is Germany. Despite the risks, Abdulrahman Osman and his wife, Kraiz, decided that they should attempt the dangerous journey together with their four children - joining the masses of refugees entering Europe. We meet them at the end of their sea crossing from Turkey to Greece. They wash up on the beach, exhausted and slightly disoriented. But anything is better than remaining in Syria, they say. Crossing Europe on foot, in buses and on trains, their journey takes 10 days of almost non-stop moving. Finally, they arrive in Germany. It is here they face an equally daunting challenge, starting from scratch in an unfamiliar country. This is the end of the beginning for refugees arriving in Western Europe, exiting the camps and establishing a new home, building security for their future, schools for the children and eventually new work - all in a language they don't speak and in a society that may not always be that welcoming. More from Witness on: YouTube - http://aje.io/witnessYT Facebook - https://facebook.com/AJWitness Twitter - https://twitter.com/AJWitness Instagram - https://instagram.com/ajwitness/ Website - http://aljazeera.com/witness


PAKISTAN'S DISPLACED POET

EPISODE 20

STORYLINE
An elderly poet can't accept life at a Pakistani refugee camp, and faces the agonising decision about whether to return home.Baba, a poet and former teacher, lives with his family in one of many tarpaulin-covered tents at the Jalozai camp, southeast of Peshawar, in Pakistan, which was originally set up to house refugees fleeing the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.Jalozai has welcomed thousands of internally displaced people in recent years, including Baba and his family, who were forced off their land by fighting between the Pakistan Army and insurgents. Baba's son scrapes together a living by selling balloons and carting around a film projector.


DAYS OF HOPE

EPISODE 21

STORYLINE
Days of Hope: From Mauritania to Copenhagen. An intimate look at the struggles of refugees and migrants travelling across the Mediterranean, from Africa to Europe.


ISIL DESERTERS SPEAK OUT

EPISODE 22

STORYLINE
In southeast Turkey, a few dozen kilometres from war-torn Syria, a secret network, at great risk to themselves, is rescuing fighters who have decided to leave ISIL.For the first time, these deserters have agreed to give a detailed account of the roles they played and what life was like under ISIL. Most of them have lived in Raqqa, ISIL's political and military stronghold in Syria.Personal accounts of this sort are extremely rare because, in general, ISIL deserters go into hiding and keep quiet. If they give themselves up to authorities, they are immediately imprisoned and can no longer have any contact with their lawyers or families.The smuggling network, made up of long-term fighters of the Free Syrian Army, agreed to reveal a few of its working methods. By helping the deserters to flee and by collecting their testimonies, they want to denounce ISIL's lies, its false promises, its cult of violence and its widespread corruption. The members of the network are convinced that, in doing so, they will discourage future candidates and block recruitment channels.


TOMORROW WE DISAPPEAR

EPISODE 23

STORYLINE
It looks like we don't yet have a storyline for this episode.


A GOAT FOR A VOTE

EPISODE 24

STORYLINE
It looks like we don't yet have a storyline for this episode.


ISTANBUL STREETS: I HEAR MUSIC

EPISODE 25

STORYLINE
Istanbul's street vendors chant their last songs amid the city's gentrification.I Hear Music is an intimate portrait of the cultural shift in Istanbul from traditional to modern, told through the stories of three street vendors when their work suddenly becomes illegal.Halit has been selling home-made stuffed mussels for 20 years; Ismet has been coming and going through the same neighbourhood since the 50s with his freshly-made pastries; and Yasemin walks the streets with her bundle full of bedspreads and curtains.All three face relocation and competition from modern shopping centres and commercial brands in the midst of gentrification.As they face uncertain futures, the street vendors are invited to sing their lyrical sales chants at an event organised by local musicians to commemorate the traditional, fast-disappearing sounds of the streets of Istanbul.


THE GIRL WHO SAVED MY LIFE

EPISODE 26

STORYLINE
It looks like we don't yet have a storyline for this episode.


WELCOME TO GERMANY CAFE WALDLUFT

EPISODE 27

STORYLINE
It looks like we don't yet have a storyline for this episode.


Season Two Thousand Sixteen