DANGEROUSLY ADRIFT - Synopsis by Jessica Lefkow

DANGEROUSLY ADRIFT - Synopsis by Jessica Lefkow
Dangerously Adrift, is a documentary dedicated to all displaced people around the world. Paul Moran dedicated a full year of his life to creating this documentary. The man at home everywhere was profoundly moved by the plight of those who risk all they have and know and are in the hope of finding better lives, elsewhere. In spite of his intentions, Paul never had the chance to rework the film after completing this version several years ago.

Watching it, one is struck by Paul's tenacity in getting the story, even in the face of increasing hostility from the Cypriot authorities. I know that he had been advised to show more of his own part in this story. Tantalizing glimpses of his passionate, compassionate involvement in the lives of these refugees appear and resurface throughout the second half of the film. Perhaps footage from Paul's master tapes contains more of this material.
Sadly, this film remains topical in that it documents an issue still at the forefront of international news today.

The displaced people we meet here are a motley collection of genuinely oppressed or hunted individuals, as well as opportunists, downright criminals, and those willing to take great risks to seek peace and prosperity for themselves and their children in safer places than those from which they hail. In this documentary filled with moving revelations about their lives, I am always particularly struck by the story of Richard, a drifter whose actions may well have saved the lives of everyone rescued from the original vessel. Out of self-interest, he was given the opportunity by circumstance to become a braver, better person than he ever intended to be.
This film is a valuable record not just of the stories of those whose plight Paul Moran captures here so well, but of our friend Paul's profound commitment to those same people and issues, as well. It is a dramatic first cut of what could have been an even more compelling final work.


    Ayesha and family

Noora and baby



: Dangerously Adrift - Truth Identity and SURVIVAL
By Paul Moran
Ext: Cyprus:
A plane lands over a beach in Cyprus. Tired holidaymakers wearily make their way through the arrival lounge.
Narration: It was the season when the great summer migration begins. Hundreds of charter planes would arrive on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus full of eager tourists ready to relax. They would spend their days sunning their pale European bodies. It was a chance for them to escape from their everyday worries and to forget about what awaits them when they return.
But somewhere of this coast another kind of charter was about to arrive
(Fade to black)
Title: Dangerously Adrift
Voice over of Mohammed telling his story of escape

Cu of canvas as Mohamed paints his village
Mohamed: 20:00:34: When I was three years old I lived in the countryside of Syria. Our village was called Marbo Shari. I don't remember much of it, it's rather foggy. It's like a dream. I remember how snow used to fall, how we used to play with friends. It was a very simple life, quiet and delicate. What I can't forget is when I used to wake in the morning. There was fog in the air and the dew lay on the grass. It was a beautiful sight. I will always remember this
Mohamed 20:08:16 C Shot off screen: I began to paint seriously when I was at high school. I was involved in theatre, music and of course my studies. It was then that I became involved in the political issues of my country.
Shots of city and people in Aleppo
Mohamed: 20:11:10C: At the end of high school my art was very important. I started having exhibitions in the city of Aleppo and it was then that the Syrian intelligence service started harassing me. I was questioned and made the decision that I had to leave or I would end up in prison.
Mohamed: 20:14:36 off screen: I fled to Beirut where I lived for 6 years and spent most of my days painting but all along I was homesick for Syria. I knew I couldn't return. I poured my homesickness into paintings. Expressing my feelings into colours.
Ws Beirut
Mohamed 20:17:08 C: Beirut was a dangerous place for me. I was there illegally and the authorities were closing in. I had to leave Beirut.
Cu people on the street talking
Mohamed 20:27:33 C: A friend of mine told me about a boat going to Italy and asked me if I wanted to join. I said I was ready.
Old man selling fruit on the street
Night shot people 02:18:39 D
Mohamed: 20:22:46 C: In Tripoli we met the smuggler. He said ok, the trip will start tomorrow, we agreed.
But it wasn't until two weeks later when we were back in Beirut and dealing with another contact that my friend called me and told me, it's on, we were to leave the following day.
I washed my face and got dressed. I had two bags. I packed some clothes drawing tools, and a pencil
Driving shot 20:23:15 C
Mohamed: When we went to Tripoli, I didn't have papers with me. I was afraid. If a road block stopped us and I was arrested I could be sent back to Syria..
POV shot of driving on street 02:03:50 D
Ws Beirut off Lebanon tape
Mohamed: 20:24:47 I had a very strange feeling. You know, I could hear some kind of funeral music. It was like Beirut was saying goodbye to me. Like a trip into the unknown. I had fear and anxiety yet at the same time a desire to discover this unknown.
WS harbour and city 2:16:58 D
Boat in harbour 02:17:51 D
D boats in harbour 02:16:22
Mohamed: 20.26.11 B: It was dark when we arrived in Tripoli. We got into a small boat, which we thought was taking us to a bigger boat. We sat on the deck and somebody yelled, "Get down, get down below!" People were dropping on top of each other. Everybody was just trying to find a place to sit.
Mohamed: 20.28.13 B: We stayed below until sunrise and then we were allowed up on deck.
Shot of the water towards the sunrise 03:06:41 or 3:10:19 B
Mohamed: I told my friend, "Iin three days time we'll be in Italy." We were leaving the east behind and in the West, 'We may have a chance to succeed." Everyone on the boat had a strong desire to get to Italy fast. There we would have to start from scratch.
Shot of dawn light reflecting on water. 03:07:09 B
Shots of rough sea
Mohamed: 20:31:00c: We had been aboard for three days when suddenly the sea turned violent.
Video of rough sea
Nura: 18:15:54 (Excited) The water was still too much. The water was following us.{Water shot} The water would come like this, like this and from back. {Water shot} and enter inside the boat pouring on my baby and on, um, me.
Water shot
Fade to black
Mohamed: Audio 03:28:22 D off screen: We started developing engine trouble some of us tried to fix it. I think the Captain became lost and decided to turn around. It was soon after that, that the engine died.
Richard: off screen: When the engine, um, develop problems, you know, we were on the boat, and then, uh, we were just praying for God for some help so we stayed there and then, uh, you know, our food- and then we have shortage of food and water, you know, so we were on the sea, we then drink the sea water.
CU of Mohamed pencil sketches move to cu of face
Mohamed: 17:29 :10 I saw people sleeping, some looked dizzy, others thinking, so I started to sketch. I was also dizzy but I could still sketch. It's like someone who's addicted to smoking. Every hour, every hour I needed to sketch
Nura off screen
Track in on Nura sketch 17:27:15
Nura: 18:18:57:(crying) It was very horrible when the water and food ran out. That time, I went to- they told me to go to captain go to captain and ask him to give you water. I went to captain. And he told me no food no food no water. Give your baby seawater. Everybody here take seawater. Nobody could help me. When they were telling me to give him the water. Everybody, when he started sick nobody could come to help me. They give him the water to drink. Then he started vomiting. My baby was very horrible.
Sketch of men in a group 17:30:38
Photos of people down below
Sketch of hungry man 17:27:34
More shots of Mohamed paintings and photos
Mohamed: 21:21:29: Then the threats between the Captain and the other groups began. Once when there was a fight, the captain said we have to kill all the Africans, because they're non-believers and they've got us into this situation. Some people started praying and others started making plans to kill each other.
Mohamed: 21:18:57: Nura came to me. She wanted water. She thought we had water, but we didn't. She told me her boy was dying.
Cu of moon 23:33:38
Mohamed: 21:08:30: It was night-time when the first person died. Everybody was tired and they realised that death was very near, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after.
Painting of water machine 17: 30: 11
Mohamed: 21:01:50: I remembered how water evaporates and then the vapour would turn into clear water, the salt would then fall into the bottom of the pit. Though we had failed the first time, I tried to set it up again. This time it worked! I tasted it, and it was good! So my friend and I took turns making the water and every ten minutes we made one cup.
Richard: 03:30:00 D You know, I volunteer my life because of what happened to my family and then what happened on the boat because we know that we have no any help, you know? When there is a ship passing towards u,s we just wave and so on, but we couldn't have some help. So I just pray for my own personality and then I pray for God that even though I volunteer my life when I die may God forgive me.
Mohamed: 21:34:20: Richard couldn't even swim. They had sort of a makeshift boat. It was like riding a donkey or something, half their bodies were in the water. They didn't have any food or water. They just got into the water.
Mohamed: 21:31:05: When Ibrahim and Richard got into the water. I realized they only had a small chance of getting rescued. They were making such a sacrifice for us.
Closeup of Richard
Cu photos of desperate people on the boat
Mohamed: 11.23.51: What caught my attention were the faces of the people on the boat. They faces reflected their feelings. Some people had no expression in their eyes, not knowing what to do, whether to live or die. Some people had lost hope, others prayed to God hoping God world help them and that they would finally be rescued.
Water shot
Richard: 03:38:00 D: We did volunteer our lives to find a rescue. But on the first day we just think we maybe rescued and find help, but during the second day we know that our life has ended
During our prayers on the sea we saw this Ukrainian vessel.
Cut to cu ship on sea
Mohamed: 21:16:30: In the next morning we saw a ship coming towards us. It started to circle us.
Fade to black
Shot of Cyprus coastline with blurred lights
Mohamed: 22:03:31 When we came close to Cyprus, we could see the lights. They shouted wake up we've arrived. I went up and stared at the lights, it was incredible it was like I was seeing lights for the first time. We had survived.

Boat arriving in harbour
News video of arrival 22:22:51
Shots of refugees being fed and in hospital.
Fade to black
Exterior and interior of house and PM entering
Phone ringing machine answers
PM: Hi you've reached Paul Moran leave a message after the beep and I'll give you a call back. Thanks very much. Bye."
At the computer reading
Narration: I'm one of the many foreigners that live here in Cyprus. I use it as a base to freelance for television news, mainly around the Middle East and surrounding areas. By its location, Cyprus makes a good launching point.
I read the news on the internet about a boatload of asylum seekers that had been rescued and was asked by a friend, who knew I was scouting for stories, to take a look. I guessed that outside the island there would be little interest.
Over the last couple of years I've seen refugee stories in Iraq, Bosnia and Lebanon and I understand that people's attention can be pretty short. So with the odds stacked against selling this story I still decide to drive down.
Driving to Limassol
Narration: It's an hours journey from Nicosia down the freeway to the port city of Limassol. I planned to spend an hour or so with them and unless I heard something out of the ordinary I'd quietly excuse myself and drive back home.
Refugees on hotel balcony
Pregnant women sleeping 05:01:45
Kurds looking bored sitting around fan 03:21:00
Pan and throw focus 04:24:11
WS kids playing
Narration: There I found a hundred or so Kurds, Africans, Arabs and Bangladeshis,. Most of them anticipated that because they had been brought here they would be set free.
The bizarre situation, in which they now found themselves, penned off from holidaying Europeans below, sparked my interest and their confusion of stories equally aroused my curiosity. So with so many nationalities confined in such a small space I wanted to know how they would possibly pull off their freedom.
Advertising billboard
Market shots
Narration: Cyprus is a place where identity is important. Greek Cypriots are protective of their national character and with this permeates a fear that one-day hordes of foreigners from the Middle East and Africa will descend upon their island. This is in part due to the island over the centuries having a variety of landlords, the Greeks, Persians, Lusignans, Venetians, Ottomans, and finally the British have all ruled here. But in 1960 Cyprus finally became independent. The united republic was short lived and both sides sunk into communal infighting.
Shots of green line women
Soldier and green line 08:04:00 D
Narration: Thousands on both sides went missing, others fled from home and country to become refugees. Today's Cyprus exists around me with a surreal line that slices the island separating Greek and Turkish Cypriots communities. The missing are still mourned and the refugees still long to return to their homes.
The newly arrived boat people would be confronted by a government and a people who from experience, are taught to be suspicious of outsiders.
Greek music 8:11:38C
Exterior of Pefkos hotel
Shots of tourist, swimming shot from balcony 10:33:19
Tourists swimming in pool, people lounging around pool, drinking at bar 10:30:09
Shots of pastor looking down at pool cu of face and eyes. 01:34:22
Lift door opening 03:30:16
PM: "Hello how are you"
Camera moves to policewomen 03:30:16
PM: "Are you are you having a relaxing morning?
Policewomen: yes
PM: Are there many problems up stairs?
Policewomen: No

Policeman walking rooms radio noise 21:05:55
Mohamed: 01:11:54: My name is Mohamed Hanif Breem and I am a Syrian Kurd. I left Syria because the Syrian authorities were pursuing me as a person and as an artist.
Mohamed:14:32:14B: The problem in Syria is being Kurdish and showing a painting with Kurdish setting will cause problems. Whatever I draw they censor. In Syria if you draw a horse it's ok but if I draw it, it's censored. They would interpret it a different way. Once I drew a tree with four branches but it was interpreted by the government as the four countries of Kurdistan. They caught me and I was interrogated.
Arabs playing batgammon Dv tape 6

CU of Richard on balcony cu of hands 02:07:04
Richard: 9.16.00: You know, during a war in Liberia I've lost of my parents - I'm the only one son from my father and my mother so I left of Liberia almost nine years now so I know that I don't have any relatives in Liberia so I decided to find a solution how I can lead myself and to find a better solution for my own life or solution for myself. So this is why I decide to join the trip or to travel or to find a country that I can make my family.

Kurds kids playing in hotel hallway
Nura playing on bed with baby, various cuts 00:20:05
Nura: 16:33:56B: My name is Nura from Sudan, southern Sudan. There was war and especially war there was a lot of killing everybody has to run away for safety
Nura: 00:17: 36 (Starts to crying): Now I don't know if the Govt or the UN don't do anything for us we do not have future any more we don't know, we don't have anywhere to go, we don't have any place to go, any person to go to, only God only God that is our house, our father and our mother. Here, we stay here, I stay here, I cry, everyday I cry. Because I don't know if I don't have father anymore, I don't know where my mother is. My three brothers I don't know if they are dead I don't know I'm the only woman from my mother's children. So I don't have family so don't send us back to that place. I don't have a home to go to.
Exterior of hotel
Nicos Nicolides: Lawyer for the Boat People 18.22.20 B: They differ in the sense that as I told you they were not illegal immigrants. They were just people in the sea, you know, who just had some problems and we just brought them to Cyprus. So if you are travelling in an aeroplane and has that some mechanical problems and lands in another country is it a right that they arrest you and put you in prison?
Andreas Papamichael: Chief Cypriot Immigration officer: 02:33:22D: The problem the problem with these people is that we do not know exactly who they are because they have no any travel documents. We don't know exactly with whom or for whom we are speaking. They have not any travel documents or any identity card or anything else to show us to persuade us that this is Mr. Ali Mohamed or Mr Papamichael or Mr Moran.
Nicos Nicolides: The difference is that our constitution provides specifically that nobody can be imprisoned unless there is a court order. Because you know there has to be some kind of court control, supervision. How can somebody go arrest another person and imprison him without any, you know, control.
Graphic: Two months later
13:32:16 Start with close up of people watching/ protest noise
13:32:52 Camera pan to WS balcony
13:30:05 Refugees on balcony protesting
14:04:04 Mohamed clapping
14:04:40 Family clapping
14:02:20 Man on scooter looking up
14:26:01 People waving signs
Fade to black
WS group and Cu of African women 05:15:00
Policeman: 32.39 You have to eat because you drink, you take the pills. You have to eat it's no good for you.
No answer
Policeman: Don't eat it's not my problem.
Nura: 5.04.05 I don't want to eat. If I die they can bury me. I don't want to eat because I can't continue eating and being here. (Starts crying) Looking at my son like this is the only a baby I have. He is my life, he is my happiness, if he is not good I'm not happyI depend on God for my help he is the only thing I have, God is the only thing I have as I'm sitting here he is my parent, he is my house, he is everything I have. Only him I look up to, to help me.
I pray I'll get out. Please. I want you people to help me. Don't leave me here.
PM, (off screen): People are trying to help. Don't worry, people are trying to help.
Narration: Nura and the others were looking to me for help.
But what could I possibly do? Give them some comforting thoughts that you think will make them feel secure? But the words always sound empty.
Bagladeshis playing cards 11:34:45
Kurds sitting in group discussing. 01:05:56
African meeting
With a dozen different nationalities all confined in one space the various ethnic group generally stayed within each others company whether it was passing the time of day or gathering for a meeting
African man: {making plea for solidarity during hunger strike}
What we are now saying those who have been eating all of us ate we have made a mistake. Let us now be declaration as from tomorrow and I believe united we stand divided we fall. This my own advice.
Music begins
Mohamed painting watercolours
Cu of paintings: 17:34:33B-17:27:38B 17: 30:14B 17:30:50B-17:27:04B
Cu of Mohamed's eyes:
Mohamed: 22: 28:09 C: The only important thing is not to belong to a country but to belong to humanity. To belong to the beautiful things, to the things that make sense, the things that have a meaning. So it's difficult for me to think that people believe that I'm not qualified to live a free life like a human being. I don't live on what will happen tomorrow, I live in the present and I have to take advantage of the present moment which must be full of work.
Whatever happens later doesn't matter. Whether problems arise, or we whether we die, the present moment mustn't be wasted.
Narration: The hunger strike gradually petered out and when the United Nations High Commission for Refugees arrived they began the task of judging who would be given asylum.
Nura looks out of the hotel balcony at a tourist girl swimming in the hotel pool..
Fade to black
Sharon Hilder: UNHCR Protection Officer 01:47:45 D: Well, what I normally ask them is quite simply is why did you leave your country. So I make the determination of whether or not it's political asylum. You see political asylum is a big... There are other elements you come out and most people believe it's political asylum but you're granted on refugee status based on criteria outlined in the convention. It could be because they belong to a particular social group because then that could be they're opposition party members. It could be that they come from a minority tribe. So there are different, different elements, um, in it. So political asylum is the catchall phrase but we do have different sub sections under that and it's trying to see how they fit in.
Narration: I arrived at the hotel carrying with me UNHCR asylum applications forms. Noone was there to help translate these questionnaires so I was left to try and explain. In spite of myself, I was being drawn in.
Walking down stairs into hotel
Sahib: Now everybody what we write in there?
PM: Yes becuse you are refugee status. Are you staying legally in the present country? Because, yes you are refugees.
Sahib:Yes only yes
Cu of forms 19: 28:29
Little girl playing hide and seek 19:29:13
Ayesha sitting outside room, two shot on balcony 05:31:08
CU of writing on pad
Narration: In every room that I visited I heard different reasons for asylum. This is the Al Marlsi family. Their journey really started eight years ago. Fahad had left his two boys in Germany under the care of a friend so he could return to Lebanon. Since then he, his now pregnant wife and daughter have not been allowed by the German government to return and their boys were eventually given to the state of Germany for adoption.
Ayesha sitting outside room two shot on balcony 05:31:08
Ayesha: 5:18:55: It's a feeling of motherhood. I never forgot them. We are talking about 8 years it's a long time the minutes the seconds (starts to cry)
Cu of hands 05:31:32
CU of photo 05:28:44
Fahad: 05:27:23: I feel miserable, it's like a piece of my body missing. It's like a piece of my heart. They are my children. I didn't find them in the street they are my children. This is their sister she doesn't know them. She thinks she is the elder sister. She asks me 'where are my brothers?
Ayesha: 05:20:30: What can I do? What any mother would do? As soon as I see them, I will never leave them again, no matter what happens to me. I was waiting for this chance, it was the only chance. I am ready to risk myself even more, no matter what happens.
Narration: Their story is another in a maze of situations, decisions and mistakes that I can never hope too possibly uncover or understand. I wondered as I left them in their room, if they would ever had a realistic chance to see their boys again.
Fade to black
Cu of United Nations letter 09:29:06
Cu of letter saying rejection 0929:44
Pastor letter in hand 09:27:15
Pastor: So when we opened the letter the content there is that we are not granted a refugee that we are not qualify as a refugee and we didn't know why.
PM: What happens if you go back to your country?
Pastor: Then I'm surely I'm going to face the death penalty
Cuts of people faces 09:32:49
PM:09: 28:57: You still have that right to appeal, so all is not lost so don't do, don't do anything dramatic, be patient, or You have to just get your information together.
African voice: Do we still have any hope?
PM: You always have hope you, always have hope, you've got an appeal that should be hope.

Refugees waiting
Ayesha sitting outside room looking bored 03: 21:30
Cu of Mohamed
Mohamed: 22:12:47 B : It's just the waiting. One is just waiting for this decision. But when is this decision going to be made? One doesn't know. So you're alert and vigilant all the time. There's no specific period, you're waiting every moment, you're alert every moment. You're tense all the time. Preparing how to react to this destiny.
WS house bells ringing 6:31:16 D
PM in the house
PM: So you're saying that the police used force to try and deport you?
Pastor phone interview: Yes they used force. Even, they brought gun. They brought gun yesterday. They got it. Maybe they wanted to shoot us and we are ready to die yesterday.
PM: So what are you going to do?
Pastor: Well, we are still angry. Even this morning, we wanted to, we wanted to go down. To go down and cause a, cause a road block- we wanted to go down now.
We wanted to force ourselves out!
Music: Geo track 10
Driving POV and Limassol sign 07:36:14
PM: I get a bad feeling about this
Rioting shot off screen Logos tape
More rioting Logos TV tape
Police arriving carrying batons 07:11:04
Refugee kids on balcony 8:12:26
Policeman 21:24:25
On phone call with Richard
PM: 07:35:24B: So what are you asking for now?
Richard: We are asking for freedom.
PM: You can't just ask for your freedom. You have to talk to someone about it.
WS Hotel showing 07:17:22
Cu crowd 07:18:44
Running up stairs 7.36:37B
Logos news: Cypriot screaming up at them
Walking along corridor 8:04:06B
Riot police block road
Cu Nura on balcony 7:14:04`
Riot police foreground Nura on balcony
Walking around corner discovering injured on floor 19:13:17
Injured on ground
PM: Did you attack the police?
African: No. No. What do I have to attack? I didn't attack. They were trying to force me inside. I said that we are not here for problem. They were beating us. Do you see all these places? This with baton.
Frightened child and father 08:18:38B
Small girl 08:22:32B
Little Kurdish girl
Mohamed 19.03.13: You have two types of authority, one that cares for you and the other that wants to control your life. The treatment is like an authority that is trying to control us. They are trying to control, they don't care about us.
PM: You fight the police they'll fight you back. So just go peacefully.
African voice: We were not fighting them
PM: I know. Look, you have to
African voice: We were not fighting them. They came here we told them that we are not ready to fight them.
PM: You have to wait
Richard: 19.20.34 We don't want to fight them but the sergeant told them that they should attack us.
Because we are ready to die- I'm ready to die, that is why I, I volunteer my life in the sea for two days. To find a rescue ship, Ukrainian ship - so me I'm ready to die. If they don't want to free me I'm ready to die here in Cyprus. And if I die they should, they should keep on in mind that if they treat black as an animal, they treat them in South Africa or European countries even in America they will treat them as they treat us here. This is our problem. We do not have any problem with the Cyprus government or the police they was trying to treat us like animals and I know that most of them didn't travel before If they had travelled before they would know what is a human being. They think we are animals and we are not animals. They don't want, they don't want- they told us they don't want black to stay in Cyprus. We are black monkeys and we are not monkeys here in Cyprus. They rescue us, they rescue us to help us, not they rescue to feed us, to spend money on us and to kill us.19.21.42
Narration: The police retook the hotel later without incident, but as we scrambled out that day I realised that once the riots were seen on the nightly news it would change the way the refugees would be treated.
Hotel guests watching the nightly Cyprus news
Logos news reader and shots of rioting refugees 10:17:35
Narration: If this was going to be a trial by television pictures, we at least needed to show their side of the story.
Opener of Sigma news. Refugees protesting in the street.
Police car window smashed
Richard on TV News : 10:21:43 They told us they don't want black to stay in Cyprus and we are not black monkeys here in Cyprus.
Fade to black
Ws café
Old men in café
Old man in café: 12: 15:50: Ah the Cyprus government they help them but it was stupid they shouldn't help them they should send them back because it cost the Cyprus government more than £3000 per day each, a day. They put them in a hotel why? They lives in a tent they live in their country, you know.
Man on the street buying watermelon: 12:18:07: I mean living in this century I mean people they should be careful but on the other hand they should do what they have done because the government has given all the, you know, help so they shouldn't behave the way that they have, you know reacted yesterday on the, in front of the hotel.
Man in café: 12:14:00: Well, we have to help them, few days and then send
them back after that. No, no stay here.
Nicos Nicolides: Lawyer 19.11.54: It is the fact that we were refugees before we went to so many other countries to find work and to have a better future so we should be able to view the problems of these people in that way and the same spectrum that we viewed our problems when we had to go to other countries. 19.11.17S
Slow zoom in on Mohamed' eyes
Shots of the boat in harbour slow mo 16:35:40
WS of boat 14:33:24
Cu of instruments 15:06:36
WS of hull.
Mohamed: 01:13:24 B: I was happy when I was at sea. I was very much at ease there. I felt that for the first time there was nobody chasing me, I wasn't afraid. I would soon discover whatever was destined for me.
Shot of temperature gauge showing the now increasing temperature/ 39 degrees
On our next visit to the hotel the police now denied us access.
Policeman: Nobody, nobody can visit without the permission of the police commissioner
Narration: They believed that our camera crew had incited the riots so our visits to the refugees would now have to done largely in secret.
Refugees on the balcony. 21:18:26
PM: Tell me what happened?
Sahib: Yesterday the police yesterday came to every floor and beat everybodybeat beat everybody you see him?
Sahib: Nothing, only he came only to beat everybody. No speak no answer only beat .
Cu Mohamed, bruises on mans ribs
PM: Who were they? Who were these police?
Sahib: Commandos, commandos. They were Cyprus police he take the black clothes, commandos. You see?
PM: 21:22:37 : We gotta goI'll call you
Shot of van on the freeway
In the van talking
PM: 09:12:02 I think we should give it to the newspapers and the local TV stations so the public can find out what's going on.
Nightly Cypriot news
Newsreader: A human rights group has demanded an investigation of complaints that might damage the reputation of Cyprus abroad, the Attorney General has been notified.
The Immigrants Support Group has given these pictures of abused illegal immigrants, which was the result of the investigation of foreign journalists.

Local news pictures: Show shots of Africans shadow boxing and doing handstands.
Newspaper headline
Police beat us up says Boat people
Narration: After the media coverage of the events the Attorney General's office appointed two investigators to gather evidence. Forty African men were transferred to a prison in Larnaka. The police knowing that we were behind the videoed evidence, stepped up it's security to stop us entering the hotel.
Policeman yelling at PM and not allowing any access to the boat people
PM: Take a deep breath.
Talking in the van
PM: 07:04:20 C: Yeah Emad listen we got caught by the police and the hotel people, they threw us out of the hotel so we can't visit you today because they are on to us so we'll have to come back later at night time.
Night shot Limassol 14:17:07 B
Arriving at hotel at night 05:17:30C
Narration: For me this was becoming a bizarre situation. Now we were working with the refugees to distract the police for our entry into the hotel.
Richard sneaking around corner of stairwell leading us into the room past the police 6:15:28-6:15:59
Mohamed: 01:08:49: As far as the police are concerned visits are banned, newspapers are banned, the press are banned, human rights activists are banned and they threaten us whenever something ever happens.
Slow mo of Richard and Mohamed VO
Shots of guys in room looking about.
Inter cut pictures of Mohamed's charcoal sketching showing the fear now in the hotel and finishing with a sketch of policeman standing over a frightened figure..
CU Mohamed's eyes 1: 08:06B
Cu sketching 12:12:01B
Richard: 13:12:29 :The Chief Commander of Police in Limassol he addressed us that they don't want problems so we that remain we should stay peacefully. So, after that we came up stairs to our rooms, so I came to my bed and lay down. After I hear hard knocking and shouting outside so I decided to open my door and see what is going on. Soon as I opened the door I then saw three police they attacked me, pushed me on my bed and they started beating me.
So, I opened the door and I saw people, people are crying outside, they are crying outside. I saw some people they were wounded.
Cu drawing and sound of sketching noise slowed down. 12:16:05
Richard: 13.13.14: So we went down stairs to tell the inspector that some of our brothers are wounded so we want to take them to hospital, he said we should go back to our bed, bedrooms and sleep if not he will call the commandos again to come and beat us.
Cu sketching 12:16: 10 B
End on sketch of policeman standing over refugee 13:29:05B
Narration: After four months in captivity Ayesha gave birth to a tiny baby girl, Mikaria .
WS Limassol hospital 22:04:24
Screaming baby in incubator 22:36:13
WS of Ayesha and Leila on bed, cu Ayesha profile 22:00:40
Ayesha looking at magazine headline 22:03:03
'Black Monkeys go home'
Narration: I had earlier asked Fahad and Ayesha if they wanted to send a video message to the German authorities, in the hope that one day their two missing boys might be able to see them.
Fahad: I had to leave you there to go back and get your mother and sister and come back for you.
I ended up in jail, it was my misfortune, I did nothing bad. You can ask your mother, she will explain to you everything that happened. Your grand-father and your aunt died , as well as other complications and that is what prevented us from coming to you sooner.
Ayesha: Good morning. How are you? I hope you are well.
Your father and I both suffered so much... but I am ready to suffer even more than that to try to get you both back Ahmed and Tony.
Daughter: I have missed you and have suffered a lot from not being able to see you with mum and dad (crying)
Graphic: Five months
Cu of moon 23:31:21
Streets of the old town
Inside restaurant cu customers
Narration: It was a Friday night and I was out in one of the many restaurants in Nicosia. Forty kms down the highway a special police unit had arrived at the Larnaka prison to attempt to deport some of the forty Africans that had been transferred there earlier. They refused to move

People in Domus/people drinking and laughing 08:17:17D
Slow motion shots of refugees being beaten. 23:34:50
Cu of beating zoom in 01:05:09
Refugees being beaten. (Shot off TV screen) 01:04:25B
WS Pefkos hotel
Ws and cu of Mohamed lying on bed looking dejected
Cu of his artwork showing cu of gentle looking people taken form his imagination.
CU of Mohamed on balcony looking out
Back shot looking out over balcony 11:01:49
Night street scenes 14:04:47B
Limassol wide shot 14:06:50 B
Mohamed: 22: 24:16: I ask myself for how long is this situation going to last. I see people outside walking without any fear. I think that if I escape where will I go? Back to the same fear and hiding? Why can't I walk like these people freely? I have everything that qualifies me to live as a human being. I feel sometimes there is a discrimination. I was born in Syria but I never choose the Syrian government or its people. So why should I be blamed for this? Why should I feel discriminated against just because somebody would look at me and blame me for the politics of the government or the country I come from? I look at people and ask how can they live freely just because they belong to this country they have freedom they have rights so why are they like this and I 'm denied a chance of leading a life like I want?
Attenna news opener and new reader 07:06:49 D
Narration: When television pictures of the beatings were shown the following night every major politician, except for the President appeared on television. I was astonished to hear that the main worry was the damage the beatings would do to Cyprus's international reputation.
Policeman walking outside of hotel
Nura: 13:01: 49: Everybody is worried they cry they keep crying because I see not only me cry, I see most of the women they cry. Sometimes in the middle of the night they wake up and they will be crying especially the women that has two boys and one girl This, ten and twelve years and, six year old girl she always crys like me.
Mohamed: 12:28:15C : The children feel fear especially at this early age, can you imagine being held for four or five months? They can not play they can not go to the street. There is no environment that makes them feel like they are children they suffer like the adults. So when they see something like the beatings on TV it increases their fear.
Little girl hiding behind mother 19:19:11
Various shots of children in the hotel
Narration: There was now a genuine fear within the hotel that more beatings may happen again. Our nightly visits became a carefully guarded secret
Richard: Night time interview white shirt 13.21.26:
I have hope but not too much because as of now we have been rejected by UNHCR we don't know what Cyprus Govt will do about our case.
Richard: 13.16.26: For me I'll take anywhere at all, yeah because even if you stay in another country home is home you know, yeah, no one should prefer to go outside of his country, or something like that, yeah. As I was here now I prefer maybe if my life was safe and maybe I was in my country, something like that, you know. Home is home no matter how if you are outside or twenty or thirty years ago, you must go home, because home is home, yeah?
Narration: As I dug deeper into their stories I began to find that some of the boat peoples origins didn't ring true. Sudanese who didn't speak Arabic.
Iraqi Kurds who knew nothing about their region.
In the high strakes game of political asylum there was much at risk.
Sharon Hilder UNHCR Protection officer 01:28:37 D: Well obviously if I have somebody and they say they're from Liberia and they can't tell me the capital of Liberia, that is a problem, but then maybe they were from the interior of the country and they didn't know, it's possible. Then I try to ask them "Well, what area of the country are you from?" and try to get information from them on the particular area that they are in. If they don't have that information then it makes it very very difficult.
Mr. Andreas Papamicheal: Cypus Immigration: Yes strange situation because whole story is strange story. These people are strange people also. Because they are saying, when we are trying to speak to them they give us some information this information as we try to find out. After that we reach a finally different conclusion as the story they tell us . So we have, as I repeat again, and I'll repeat again we have to finalize their origin.
Title: Seven Months
Narration: So after seven frustrating months inside the hotel, it came as a surprise that the Cyprus government under pressure from human rights groups relented and allowed the women and children out for an afternoon excursion.
Kids walking out of hotel looking up and waving.
Driving in Limassol
Music: Shaking the trees Geo tack 4
Kids playing in the park and in the zoo 15.28.56 B
Mother with children in the park 09:27:03B
Nura and Suleiman on rug 09:25:34B
Music fades out
Sea sounds
WS kids on beach 16:21:30B
Kids chanting, ("I kill you, I kill you!", "I want I kill you!") and throwing stone at the sea 16:24:25B
Cu of TV soap 02:35:36C "We left everything we had on the island"
Watching TV 02:33:05C
Playing football in the hall
Mohamed: 22:22:49: I told them I was from Iraq. I said that because I was afraid of the Cypriot authorities because maybe the Cypriots were dealing with the Syrian embassy. So I wasn't sure what to do. Other people in the hotel wanted to benefit from claiming to be from somewhere that they were not. But who were they or where did they come from is a mystery.
PM speaking with African men in Pefkos hallway
African man: She looked me, she wanted to tell me that my identity card is lost, and me too I know what is, I went before, before and that's why I wanted to show my identity card.
PM: But the police have your identity card?
African man: Yes.
Narration: The task of identifying a person and judging if their life was in danger runs much deeper than a series of interviews. It involved trust.
In the weeks ahead the United Nations, after months of interviews, would begin granting letters of asylum to those who they deemed in need of protection.
Ws of door and pan to game of dominos
Cu dominos
Newspaper clipping of Mohamed's freedom
Mohamed on the beach walking 17:00:50B
Cu of hands with sand pan up to Mohamed 17:02:13B
WS behind on beach 17:21:07B
Mohamed: Sometimes a person feels there is something he wants to say but he can't find the words to express his real feelings. Life is beautiful. You feel its beauty when you feel secure but if don't feel there is life then it would be hell. If you don't experience pain you'll never experience happiness. So the search starts from the feelings of pain and happiness. No matter how happy you feel there is always pain. But you always feel that the pain last longer than the happiness.
Shots of kids walking to 10:04:54B
School bell ringing
Other kids looking at them.
WS assembly
Headmaster: 10.12.58 B: So today kids I find myself in a very happy situation. I'm very pleased and I want to share this happiness with you. Here, we have five children that came with the people from the shipwreck. Do you remember the other day a boat shipwrecked off the coast of Cyprus and some desperate people nearly drowned? Well, with these people were also these kids. Tell me your names.. Mohamed, Sabri, Rahgi, Jihan and Leila.
Kids saying good morning to each other
Assembly applauds
Title: Nine Months
Nura feeding Sulieman in room 05:06:54C
Nura:11.32.59 B: Some of the policewomen there they were telling me that the holiday is over that I must go. That the holiday in Pefkos is over. She said that all of us that we nearly destroyed Pefkos Hotel that we nearly, we nearly pulled down the government, like this. They were saying things I don't understand.
Narration: This was the last time I was to see Nora. We had promised to come the next day but at 3 am the following morning Nora and baby Suleiman with 30 others were deported.
It was told to me months earlier that Nora was from Zimbabwe and not from Sudan which she always denied.
Regardless, she and her baby were now on their way to Nigeria to start again. Even though she may not have been fleeing and maybe her life wasn't in danger, I thought she deserved a little more.
I will probably never know what became of Nora and Suleiman.
Narration: The day after the deportation the Attorney General called a press conference to release his findings on the two beatings. Five months and six investigators after the events one police commander was charged with dereliction of duty.
Attorney Generals press conference
PM: With the Pefkos beating, um, it was told to me and by several people who were covering the thing that the police went door to door, that there was no disturbance on the 20th August of last year, there was no disturbance, the police went door to door there was no riot. interrupted
Attorney General Cyprus: 00:18:42 Why did the police go there to amuse themselves?
PM: Well what it was told to me by a hotel employee went to give them a good slapping.
AG: I think it's high time for some people to be more responsible. Beacause there is no such evidence.
Photos of Pefkos beating
PM: 00.14.36 So what do you think these photos and the video are of?
AG: If somebody participates in a riot or in a part mutiny and there is reasonable force to restore order then there is no offence and I believe that having seen how police in various other countries react to sinful, uh, to the incidents of this kind. I would say that our police can gain high marks.
Pan from bags to boy lying on bed 07:23:16
Narration: Now after eleven months inside the Pefkos the few remaining asked us for help in collecting their passports. Emad had always told me that he was from Ethiopia but his passport said something else entirely.
Emad: 07:20:14 D I just feel so ashamed to call you Paul and now say this is my position I'm from Nigeria.
PM: Why didn't you tell me before?
Emad: What I wanted to do..
Narration: As I expected Emad gave me a long excuse. As he spoke I realised that the stakes were too high for them to trust anyone, including the friend I thought I had become over the last crucial year.
Emadyou are my nice friend and I have told you lies continually.
PM: 07:30:55 D: How can I believe that you are from Liberia and not like some of the others that have not told me the truth?
Richard: Because you cannot believe unless what you hear from me you know. Because even though someone told you something else unless what I told you is the truth understand that I was telling you the truth, you know? Even though someone tell you another something like that, the person cannot identify me.
Cutaway of hands
PM: But I don't care about what other people say. I want you to tell me the truth and that doesn't bother me that your from somewhere else. You've my friend you've been my friend for ten months but I just want to find out before you leave who you are and what's your story?
Richard: Yeah I'm a Liberian.
So that was the truth that I was telling you, the truth I was telling you, so that when I lived in Ghana even though you asked me now that where I'm from or was there any problem or something like that. I can identify even Liberia or Mali or Niger that you should send me back. You know, because no one can identify me. Most of the countries that I have been, even though I can tell you I am from Sudan because I have a lot of friends. Even Tahudine is my friend, my best friend from Sudan and I spoke Arabic the same as he did. So whatever I tell, you must believe.
Narration: But his word to me was not going to enough. Richard would spend one more month in the Pefkos and on the anniversary of the boats arrival he was deported to Ghana.
PM leaving hotel through back door
PM: The question was, did your country make any mistakes with the way they dealt with the people from the boat? Did they?
AG 38.43 That's quite another matter it's a matter of opinion.
PM: What's your opinion?
AG: No it's a matter of opinion. I tell you certain of my opinions before I think that's enough, I don't remember my position I am the adviser, the official adviser to the government, it's better sometimes it's not for me to say whether the government acted correctly or not.
Narration: Fahad, Ayesha and Leila were given freedom of movement and allowed to live somewhat of a normal life on the island. Normality didn't last long and Fahad found himself in trouble with the law and back in prison. Their chances of seeing their boys again now looks more faint than ever.
Leila's birthday
Narration: Of the 113 asylum seekers that arrived, 40 were granted political asylum by the United Nations and are now out in society working in restaurants, on building sites and as tradesmen, waiting on the UN to relocate them.
Iraqis and Syrians at telephone box
Narration: Weeks after Richard was deported he called me from Ghana. He was on his way to find work inSaudi Arabia. He still hadn't given up. I wished him better luck this time.
Mohamed has found himself an apartment in Limassol and is waiting to be placed by the UNHCR in a new country. Meanwhile he's painting, preparing himself for his first exhibition in Cyprus.
I am left with memories of people who by circumstance became part of my life. It became impossible for me not to become tangled within their story and even more difficult to play judge to their past and present lives. I wanted the truth in their story but they more importantly just wanted to be believed.
It was several months after the refugees had left. Frustrated about how best to tell their story and looking for inspiration, I stumbled across this poem, a poem Mohamed had once told me reminded him of his life.
If within my poems you take out the flower from the four seasons
One of my seasons will die
If you exclude love, two of my seasons will die
If you exclude bread, three of my seasons will die
And if you take away freedom, all four seasons and I will die.
Cu and pull back of Mohamed painting his house in Syria
Fade to black

JKL note; the following is not on my copy of the film, but I believe Paul meant to record himself speaking these words, found posthumously on this copy of the script.

Mohamed was granted political asylum in the United States and I last heard was living in Detroit.
Ayesha, Fahad and Leila are back in Lebanon. Fahad and his family were deported from Cyprus after Fahad involved himself in a human cargo transport to Europe.
Richard was last heard of in Spain.
There is no word on Nora and her baby.
A Cyprus court acquitted the one senior officer that commanded the police the night in the prison the boat people were beaten. After watching the videoed evidence the court ruled that the police 'had used reasonable force to restore order'.


The Empower Peace project was initiated in 2003 with the objective of encouraging communication among a new generations of teachers, students, and international journalists to significantly improve the future of education in the Middle East.

The US-based Rick Rendon group with a help of Paul Moran initiated this project in Bahrain, with the courageous participation of the girls-only Kwawla School led by teacher Amani Amer. The Kwala School linked up live with a school in Boston just months after the Second Gulf War started. After this first successful communication exchange, other schools linked up and the project continues to bring students together until today.

For more information please visit this important and inspirational website www.empowerpeace.com. By establishing a link between students in geographically and politically divided regions, this website has the stated aim to "virtually unveil" differences and promote cultural understanding, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.



Contact, feedback and questions : contact@paulmoran.org - Photograph orders : orders@paulmoran.org - Webmaster : webmaster@paulmoran.org
All pictures and projects © Paul Moran