Sunday, May 24, 2020

Al Mosafer: stories of Mecca

Today, as we know marks the beginning of Eid; a celebration that’s observed by 1.8 billion Muslims around the world. And as we know, It’s tradition among Muslims to visit Mecca during Ramadan and Eid - for prayers to observe the two religious celebrations as well as for Umrah (the year-round pilgrimage).
But this year, due to the situation and the health crisis owing to COVID-19, Mecca is under absolute lockdown, even during Ramadan and Eid. Even people living in Saudi Arabia cannot travel to Mecca. This has never happened in our lifetime. With these lockdowns and travel restrictions prevalent in Saudi Arabia, Ramadan 2020 and Eid 2020 are uniquely challenging, on a spiritual and emotional level, for those who follow the faith.
So, on the occasion of Eid, Al Mosafer (yes, the same one that brought us the incredibly moving Ramadan ad last year), a travel platform from Saudi Arabia, decided that if people can't travel to Mecca, their stories of Mecca can. Memories of Mecca are brought to people, in a film made by people themselves, titled ‘Stories of Mecca’.
Given that the film couldn’t be shot due to lockdowns in Mecca, a campaign on social media launched during Ramadan invited people everywhere to share their memories of Mecca. People from 52 countries contributed. Over 10 hours of stories were sifted through and then, the selected shots were stitched together in a film that’s told through the format of social media stories about Mecca. Because even though Mecca may be locked down, its stories will go on.
What I truly love about the film is how genuinely moving it is. The images are not professionally shot but in the amateurism one can be truly awed by the experience. With this, best wishes for the Eid to anyone celebrating it, and I know the circumstances in Lebanon are not ideal but we forge through!