Zanj Revolution (2013) - full transcript

Ibn Battuta works as a journalist for an Algerian daily newspaper. While covering community clashes in Southern Algeria, he finds himself incidentally picking up the trail of long forgotten uprisings against the Abbasid Caliphate, back in 8th-9th century Iraq. For the purpose of his investigation he goes to Beirut, a city that used to embody the hopes and struggles of the Arab World... - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
What are you doing here?


Can I ask you some questions?

- Do you have a job?
- Do you?

Who do you work for?
Pictures are forbidden here.

- I don't work for the government.
- It doesn't matter.

Nobody has a job here?

With its petrol and its gas,
this region makes Algeria prosper.

But all the jobs are taken by
Northern people. There's nothing for us.

- Can't can you make yourselves heard?
- Who do they think they are? Zanj?

- Maybe they will wake up our ghosts.
- Your ghosts?

Take your pictures.
Make our ghosts yours.

They say the Mozabitis
want to live alone?

The violence did not come
from our Ibadism.

When our houses are attacked,
when our families are hit,

when our community is
targeted and stigmatized,

It's only natural to defend ourselves.

They have called us Kharijites.
Have you heard?

Aren't we Muslims?
Are we infidels?

The power is manipulating them.

It's manipulating this country.

The riots here are just the same as
the other riots in Algeria.

Our salvation will come
when notable persons will intervene.

Our desires are endless

Europe is haunted by a ghost.

The ghost of Communis...

Cops! Cops!

The teachers have announced
the end of their strike.

Will the rallies
survive the holidays?

I don't think so.

We need to distance ourselves from
the students and approach the workmen.

I disagree.

There is already a bunch of
politicians and journalists

ready to pick up our movement.

Triantafyllos is right.
They are reducing our demands to

"More money and more work!"

Money! Money!

It's precisely one of the things
that make our world sad.


You are a sad activist!

I'm tired.

Too bad for you.

Have you seen that a humanitarian ship
has broken the embargo on Gaza?

The world is collapsing.

One has to be insane
to cling to its ruins.

Hey, buddy, what's up?
Let's watch your sector.

East, West, North, South,
watch it. Good.

Get your ass moving.

I have ambition!
Believe me or not,

this land will soon be the future
Babylon Amusement Park.

John, you have a detailed business plan
in the files I gave you.

We have a fantastic pre-financing
thanks to the Afghanistan operation.

I also talked to Oliver.

He said Ronnie would have loved it.
God rest his soul.

I love this shit.
Hey John!

The whole thing is
packed and locked.

We're just waiting for
you to press the trigger.

We have to go to Lebanon
to conclude the banking business

as soon as we have your okay.

I love Iraq!

This country is a blank slate.

We write anything we want on it!

It may not look like it, John,
but it's a capitalist utopia.

It's what we could call
an aggressive investment

in amusement ideology!

Call that cultural stagnation.

They talk of
a thousand year-old civilization.

But in this country,
all I've got to show is pottery.

I've never seen so much of it!

Mind you,
I did take some home for my wife.

Watch, I'm gonna draw you a map.

Do you think in Iraq's situation,
such investments are possible?

- What about security?
- There's still a war!

Check this out. That's North, okay?

And the road comes right in here.

Okay? Right here.

- The interstate.
- The four lanes...

Electrical blackouts...

Imagine the potential of
300 million customers.

We're coming right here like this.
And over on this side,

we got a whole complex. Down here.

Do you think that this part will
make up for the lack of entertainment?

I guarantee,
it's really gonna take off the shine.

There's a huge... interstate.

It's not the business plan, but we're
projecting we'll flip this in 24 months.

You have to do
what you're supposed to do.

Or I'll start to doubt
you're really serious.

Why not a shopping mall?

They will be able to find everything they
dreamed about and have fun while buying.

This is only a fraction of
what we're trying to create here.

Commerce, illusion,
manipulating desire...

and a vicarious satisfaction.

It could help contain
the anti-American feelings.

- That's a great idea.
- Shopping mall. Great idea.

You just have to call your friend
at the authority.

And that's why I love America.

Because things like this
are possible.

- Business-friendly world.
- Amen! Amen to that.

Afoot and light-hearted
I take to the open road

Healthy, free,

the world before me.

The long brown path before me

leading wherever I choose


I've found the two volumes of
Professor Khoury's "Zanj revolution".

But one volume has been lent out.

Nacéra, the Middle East

is Central Asia's control lever.

- It's Russia's weak spot.
- Okay, okay!

It's geostrategically important.

- It's China's oil.
- I'm not a dummy.

- Nacéra.
- What is it?

- Battûta!
- Hey Mahfoudh! How are you doing?

- Come to my house this evening.
- I hope I'll find the time.

- The prize is a couscous!
- A couscous?

The situation is explosive
and our elite is sleeping.

Treason by the elite?
Read Gramsci again.

- The ambiguous role of the bourgeoisie.
- Talking about me?

Is now the right time to go to Iraq
to investigate on confessionalism?

Redrawing of maps
and I don't know what!

Give me some time and
you'll change your mind.

- Is page 24 done?
- Nacéra.

Ask the model maker,
but I think 1000 characters will do?

Nacéra, Iraq...

Listen, I don't think the Americans
are trying to remake the maps.

- Your friends at the embassy.
- What, my friends at the embassy?

Forget about Iraq.

Beirut is the place
where you can wonder bout

the Arab nation,
its failures, its existence...

Pan-Arabism hasn't achieved anything.

And I don't think the
Greater Middle East project will do more.

I wonder where we're going.

You're going to Beirut. Beirut.

I'll give you Malek's phone number.

He will be glad to help you
and remember our failures.

You're going to Beirut.

Go, Battûta!
Algiers is just like Beirut. Go!

- Yeah, why not?
- You're going to Beirut.

Liberals proclaimed the end of
cow-boy diplomacy.

These fucking pussies in Congress
are saying that...

we should renounce.

It's only incomprehensible
that here in Iraq...

We are at war.
Let's not forget.

We were sent here to train
this country's future army.

You always know
the right things to say.

Cause... We also have to
wash these socks and underwear.

- It's right!
- Sir!

Everyone thinks
this state is going to continue.

We're condemned to lead.

You want to talk about the rebellion
of the black slaves in Iraq?

Well go to Baghdad then.
Why come to Beirut?

Beirut is a good start.

Do you think I can ask to investigate on
an eleven century year-old revolt in Iraq?

They will send me cover a riot
in some shit hole.

Riots in shit holes are tangible.

The truth on contemporary Algeria.

Write about what's happening here.

Otherwise, you may find some ghosts.

We'll see.

In the end the market takes all.

It's the only way to attenuate
the ideological and religious division.

First McDonnell Douglas,
and the McDonald's...

Enough with this
administered economy abomination.

Well get this. Fucking virtuous circle
of democratization created yet.

You know, John...

As a Christian Conservative,

I believe our battle is a moral one.

We're one the side of Good,
against Evil.

And all the destruction
because of the war on terror,

is heralding the glorious
victory of the Christ.

- We'll build a new Jerusalem...
- Son!

It's our greater duty. But...
Get me another bag, please.

Yes Sir.

Let's go.

Let's go, come on!

You're not sleeping?
You weren't waiting for me?

No... Not really...
Just a bit, actually.


- Is Mom sleeping?
- She's in the bathroom.

- What time are you leaving?
- 1:10 PM.

Why? Are you worried?

I'm scared. Yes, I'm scared.

I'm scared of ghosts.

All fathers worry for their daughters.

Yes, but you and your friends knew

you could not stay in Beirut forever.


But when the war broke out
in Lebanon, Nahla,

Our victory...

would have been worse than our defeat.

It would have been a renouncement.

In the end, it's because we left...

that today, you can still hope for

a comeback to Palestine.

The most important thing

is to survive.

Go see your mother.

Which one?

The one in the bathroom, idiot.

I bet your father was complaining.

No, he wasn't.

Let's just say he's worried.

I fear he may give you his neurosis.

And you, you never complained
about his absence?

It's not the same thing.

You're going to Beirut to have fun.

The situation is calm.

I mean... It's peaceful, in a sense.

At the time, your father
was not going on a trip.

He was not distributing oranges.

You did the same thing.

You fought with a weapon in your hand.

He was worrying about you.

That Beirut...

is far way.

It doesn't exist anymore.

Did you give your father
a phone number?

Well, see?
You're doing the same thing!

A new consciousness
seems to have come upon us.

Consciousness of strength.

A with it a new... appetite.

The urge to show our strength.



land hunger,


a mere joy of fighting.

Whatever it may be,

we are animated by a new sensation.

We are face-to-face

with a strange destiny.

The taste of empire
is in the mouth of the people.

It even has the taste of blood.

A jungle.

Hi Malek.

What's up? You're okay?
Did you have some rest?

- Are you cold?
- No, I'll be fine.

Which newspaper
are you working for nowadays?

One and another. I'm a freelance
journalist. Internet, TV, press...

How did you end up in Beirut?

- Nacéra didn't tell you?
- No, nothing.

Usually she's very talkative.

Let's say in the 80's...
In 1982 to be precise,

I was sent to cover
what we knew was the inevitable.

At least for well-informed people.

The Israeli invasion.

My former boss...

was very well informed.

Anyway, there was some kind of
exaltation, being here.

We were writing history.
Some much agitation.

A contemporary Babylon.

Yes, our Manhattan.

The whole Arab world,
with its hopes and contradictions,

in a single city.

In the end, we were prisoners of
our own interrogations.

In fact, nobody really knew
what Beirut was.

The Arabs were living in
some sort of self-made ghettos.

Beirut was the land of complexities.

Then I met a girl...
Well, "met"...

And what?

I was sent to cover the war
between Iran and Iraq.

Polisario, first Gulf War...

Years later, I came back to Beirut.

For the sensations...

For what I thought was
the definition of nonchalance.

For the girl too.

She had vanished,
like everything else.

She had probably left
like many other Palestinians.

For Damascus, Amman, Sana'a, Tunis...


I don't know where.

- Hello?
- Anything?

Hello Vince.
No, not a fucking dicky bird.

The pariah states are gonna fall.

Who's next?

Syria or Iran?

Both of them are hindering
our business here.

For the moment it's Georges
who's been hindering mine.

Invasion of Iraq was a magic bullet.

Everybody understands there is
nothing crazy about our ambition.

We are right. On a spiritual level.

Son, I didn't come to Beirut

to add another sect to those
already at war with each other.

I repeat.

We're here for business.

Precisely my point, Sir.

Syria and Iran...

destabilize the democratic Iraq
that we are building and investing in.

You're right.

And personally, I'm taking a big risk.

Which is why I'm all for the region
continuing to unite and divide itself

and the same time.

Do you get it?

It's like...


Buying and selling
at the stock market.

But Sir...

The whole Christian mystery of the Fall,

only send them for Redemption.

I love our Lord Jesus Christ,
but watch out, kid.

They'll start saying
you're from the extreme right.

And once again
we'll be talking about...

Islamism fundamentalism
against market fundamentalists.

Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah
cannot compete with Wall Mart.

Our business angel...

is late.


Where are you going?
You look hesitant.

If we keep going,
it will be more expensive.

- Can I get out here?
- Sure.

Hey! Excuse me,
where is the American University?

It's up there.

Left or right?

Ask someone who knows the place
better than me.

Where are you from?


- Lebanon?
- No.

I'm form here, from everywhere,
from Palestine.

And where do you think I'm from?


Many Arab writers
mention the Zanj rebellion.

Still, it's rare to find
interesting information.

Most of them just copy
what Tabari wrote.

They contribute to the legend,
not History.

Professor Khoury, are they expressing
the winners' point of view?

From the Caliphate power?


The Zanj can only exist in defeat.

It's their place in History.
At least the one that has been written.

Anything else?
What about scientific research?

Any hope of discovering vestige?

I don't think so.

Some guys tried to sell
this coin from Iraq.

They said they had more.

It's not particularly interesting.

It's not
the first Zanj coin discovered.

But these guys maintain
this coin comes from

Al-Mukhtâra, the lost Zanj city.

The guys claim they found it
in Basra's ponds.

Traffickers' baloneys
to sell their loot.

And this is the problem.

They did not come back
to take it back.

Where were they from?

Baghdad, I suppose. Or Basra.

Do you have a name?
A way to contact them?

These individuals have no name,
no background,

they just want to sell their goods.

Sorry, I can't help you more.

Hama! Hama!

Aleppo! Aleppo!

Damascus! Damascus!




- Are you Nahla?
- Yes.

Get in.

Isn't Bassam coming?

He's busy. He sent me to get you,
but I had a problem with the car.


Who is this from? Greeks?
Greek anarchists?

We were expecting money
from our Arab brothers.

- You did a fund-raising?
- Yes, but my friends are not rich.

€5000 is not nothing!

They fell from heaven!

Yes, it's also thanks to
spontaneous collectivization operations.

Spontaneous collectivization?

We will gladly accept money

that comes from
spontaneous collectivization.

How is your father.
I haven't seen him since September 1982.

All I know is that is not an activist
anymore since his exile.

It's true. But he's kept nostalgia
from that time.

He's teaching at the university.

Teaching urbanism at a university...
The irony, for a Palestinian!

When were you born?

- In 1982.
- 1982!

- The year Beirut was evacuated.
- Yes.

I'm back from Paris.


I made a report in the Gulf.

Something interesting?

Something A-MA-ZING!

50,000 square meters of aquatic
and bunkered consumption.

As if Albert Speer made a deal
with Walt Disney.

Some well-paid pictures.

- Hi Gisèle!
- Hi, how are you doing?


In a week I'll be here, in a bar.

I'll give you the key right now.

I'll get drunk soon and forget.

- Thank you.
- Okay, bye.

How do you like Beirut?

Is it your first time here?

Yes. How do you know?

Do we know each other?

Your face looks familiar.

Your accent.

I heard you talk to Malek downstairs.


Yes, for an Algerian newspaper.

When I hear Algerians talk together,

I wonder if they have
invented a new language.

A language that is not Arab,
nor French, nor Italian,

but a mix of them all.

It's very beautiful,
to invent a language.

So, Beirut, do yo like it?

I haven't thought about it yet.

It's too soon to tell.

What are you doing here?

I thing I knew when I left Algeria.

But everything seems inconsistent now.

I was sure I was looking for ghosts.

An interesting starting point,
chasing ghosts.

Establish a picture of the Arab world.

Especially in Beirut,

that personified
the possible revolutions so well.

I only ran into absences.

You're not the first
to be ignored by this city.

Is Beirut ignoring you too?

Let's say...

I don't spend enough time here
for her to do that.

More welcoming cities
are waiting for me.

This gallery is mine.
It has to travel to exist.

- You're in the art business?
- Yes, the kind you can see here.

Does Islamic art interest you?

Not really.

Only if I need to decorate
an empty shelf.

Why? Does it interest you?

It interests me.

Especially coins from the 9th century
in the regions of Basra.

I'm investigating.

I've heard
some coins are for sale in Beirut.

This has nothing to do with
the ghosts you've been mentioning.

They just took
different names and forms.

Do you wish to meet someone?

Fucking Georges.

You know how much money
he's making, this client?

I bet he's with oil guys right now.
That's why he's late.


For him it's no big deal.

He just has to make
a fucking phone call.

The transfer will be done immediately.

Well, hell!

Better off waiting here than in
one of their Iraqi training camps.

Your phone, Sir.



What the... hell are you doing?

- We've been waiting for an hour!
- Four hours. Four hours!

I tried calling you,

but you were impossible to reach.


Another two days?

Georges! Georges?

Shit, he hung up.
Always the same sense of hospitality.

In 1982,

They welcomed us
by showering us with...

then chased us away with dynamite.

I... I don't understand.

War is better.

Let me explain to you
why I'm a Marxist.

Things are piling up in Lebanon.

it never leads to anything.

There was a great Palestinian revolution.
Then what?

What happened?

No, you mean
what happened to the revolution?

Of course, the revolution.

Lebanon is at a dead end.

In Lebanon, there is no democracy, okay?

- In Lebanon, a revolution takes blood.
- There is no revolution.

If there is a revolution,
it will be something else, something...

So everybody wants a revolution now?

Can we change everything without
a revolution? I don't know.

In Lebanon? No.

- What do you want to change?
- Everything!

In Lebanon, the situation will change
only thanks to

an armed and organized revolution.

- Who will make the revolution?
- Who will take arms?

Who will make the revolution?

In Lebanon, it's impossible that
anything happens.

Impossible, because...

One question!

In this debate about
the Lebanese situation,

I feel like one term
is always coming back.

The term "impossible".

What word?

"Impossible". It seems impossible
to overcome the Lebanese situation.

- Better talk about the possible.
- It's difficult.

Difficult, but possible.

A debate, undoubtedly...

Let's bring the possible to the debate.

The possibility
to overcome confessionalism.

And the capital!

To overcome the Lebanese crisis.
The State is not democratic.

Things are imposed on communities.

- It's tutelage.
- Can we imagine that someday...

- What can we do?
- ...the youth of Tyre will rise?

Of Keserwan.

The youth of Tripoli

The youth of Saida and the Chouf.

Each region will say...

"We want something better."


- Is it possible?
- Maybe.

- Let's wait.
- That's the problem.

In Lebanon...

- Hello.
- Hello.

- He's not here.
- He's absent?

I'm waiting for him too.
He won't be here before 2 PM.

- 2 PM?
- Yes.

- Are we far away from Shatila?
- Not really.

You want to go there?

There's no need for a taxi.

Go that way.
It will take you 20 minutes.

- Go straight that way.
- Thank you.

It's my father.

Where in the camp
was your husband killed?

He was killed outside of the camp.
We were not living in the camp,

but in Bar Hassan,
near the embassy of Kuwait.




When are you leaving?

I don't know.

Going for a trip to Beirut?

Yes, why not?



- I finally found you.
- You were looking for me?

- I'm looking for Palestine.
- You're looking for Palestine?

- I'm looking for ghosts.
- You too?

Who are your dead
behind these ghosts?

The Arab cause, the unity of the nation,
the Palestinians, the Zanj.


Zanj. Black slaves from Iraq
who rebelled against the caliphate.

They decided they'd rather
lose their life than be enchained.

- You know him?
- Yes, he's a lost Algerian.

The American university is that way,
not here.

- I'm looking for ghosts.
- If they are in Iraq, why are you here?

My ghosts are everywhere.

- I'm also looking for living persons.
- Who?

Nobody. I went to visit the camp.

What are you doing now?


What does "walou" mean?

- Walou.
- What does that mean?

- What are we doing here?
- I don't know.

In Beirut, it's expensive.

Not only in Beirut.

When you don't work,
what do you do?

Nothing, I stay in the camp.

I have no money to spend
and the camp is secured.

- And Algeria?
- It's all the same.


- How is Thessaloniki?
- Let's say...

There are more things
to do than here, but...

You Greeks go to Europe
to find a job.

Is there nothing but defeatists?

Leave. Do like the others. Leave.

Leave? 100,000 Palestinians
have left Lebanon and you came back.

I did not come back home,
just back to Lebanon.

There is no country anymore.

Ramallah, Gaza, Jerusalem, Qalkilya...
They are all forbidden to me.

There is no place anymore.

Here or somewhere else,
it's all the same for you and me.

How so?

We are clandestine.

Here or somewhere else,
what's the difference?

I'm a Palestinian from Beirut.

Chose your own exile.

I never said I had to dedicate my life
to a flag. But leaving is expensive.

Had I known it was about money,
I'd have saved some for you.

Don't be stupid.
It requires a lot of money.

I have to go.


A rendez-vous with your ghosts?


- When are you leaving?
- Not yet.

Do you have a phone?

Give me your number.

00 36...



Can I help you?

Well... Yes.

I'm looking for things related to...

the Zanj revolution.

Who told you
you could find such things here?

Gisèle, who you know,
suggested I meet you.

I'm a journalist.

- Please.
- Thank you.

Why is a journalist interested in

a highwaymen rebellion that took place
12 centuries ago?

I don't think that way.

This was the courtiers'
point of view.

I see it from another perspective.

Before coming to Beirut,

I did an investigation
in Southern Algeria.

In a region called M'zab.

So what?


community confrontations,

clashes with the police...

The processes are known,
the approaches are sure.

In Beirut, we are not out of that.

There is nothing new.

Yet, I did some investigation.

The routine check.
Interviews and the likes.

Then I met some young guy.

His pockets were filled with rocks.

He uttered the word "Zanj".



Rebel slaves sacking
the Abbassid Caliphate.

The obstinate and bloody
refusal of oppression.

The annihilation of the insurrection,
the dream of a free city...

And now...

Their ghosts, in Algeria.

Extraordinary, isn't it?

Are you asking me the question?

These things
have been written already.

Revolts from the past tell us many things
about the ones in our present.

But you, what are you trying
to achieve?

I don't know where we're going.

The trails... The roads of return,
the points of convergence,

the sick borders of the Middle East,

the endless wind of revolt...

What is this map?

What is this map?

Draw it, and you will know.

But how?

The map I'm drawing
is still lacking...

a key.

It's open to the four winds.

You are hunting the Snark.

Your Snark is Ali ibn Muhammad,
master of the Zanj.

A revolutionary of unclear lineage.

Do you want to turn Zanj into men

and make their voices heard?

Something like that.

In Beirut, there are proofs of
their existence.

Aren't there?

There are many things in Beirut.

But how many are reliable?

I think you're in the good place
in Beirut.

Looking for things that don't exist.

It's a good start.


Stand up.

Can you imagine that this very place
has been a ferocious battlefield

between 1975 and 1982, before
it was invaded by the Israeli army?

And until the 90's,

when the Israeli army
was chased away.

Nobody can stay long in Lebanon
without being invited to.

Where you here?

Here, the boulevard...

Djamal Abdel Nasser.
And there...

the Camille Chamoun boulevard.

It turns into
the Hafez El Assad avenue.

Then, after the traffic circle,

near the Sports area.


You have the
El Hadi Nazrallah boulevard.

Behind these houses,

over there,

is Shatila.

Here is is a street...

Imam Moussaoui El Sadr.

And we're in the middle, in the skirmish,
the metallic roar.

Who are we?

Equations are variable.
That's where their interest reside in.

And you, how do you find that moment?

You're in the middle of the ford.

You're running after
the hazy Master of the Zanj.

Founder of Al-Mukhtâra.

The capital of the revolts.

The city chosen by God.

People wonder
if this city really existed.

The ponds of Basra are generous...
and cruel.


I don't think I can help you.

I'm interested in
books and antiquities.

Not gimcracks.

Nobody ever entered my shop to offer

the great book
from the master of the Zanj,

written by

Muhammad... Ibn al-Hassan...
Ibn Sahl.

That book has been lost...
or destructed.

Because it was giving a voice to the Zanj,
instead of their masters.

That book...

Was most precious than
any other relic.

Shall we go?

Let's go.

In the memory of Jackson Pollock.

Hello? I'd like...

Hello, I'd like Greenfield, Ohio.

Please, I'd like Greenfield, Ohio.

- I'm feeling.
- The sea...

I'm fleeing the South.

The beautiful South.

The wonderful South.

The illuminated face
of Elizabeth Taylor.

The dark night,



the profound South.

New-England, New-York,

- New-Hampshire, New-Jersey,
- New-Port.

Cordova, Alaska,
Douglas, Arizona,

- Florence, Jamestown, Harrisville...
- The sea.

- Carteret County.
- The desert at night.


Boats awaiting
their departure for Japan.

Boats awaiting
their departure for Formosa.

- The sea at night.
- I was dreaming of San Francisco.

I arrived at night
in San Francisco.

There was not much light that day.

- The road at night.
- In the morning...

I'm dreaming of San Francisco.

- Chester, Rockingham.
- Hancock.

The sea...
That will let me approach you,

feel you, be close to you,

caress you, take you.

The sea...

That will let me approach you,

feel you, be close to you,

caress you,

take you.

Hancock! Hancock county.

Make love

and class warfare.

- Hello Nacéra, is everything fine?
- Hello Battûta.

- Bad news?
- What is it?

There is a libel complaint
over defamatory declarations

in your article
on the Berriane riot.

- So what?
- So you take the first plane for Algiers!

Our lawyers are already
working on it.

Did you record the guy?

What do you think? Of course
I have a record of Georges Wassouf?

Haha. You must have eaten a clown.

Take the first plane for Algiers.

So I can sleep in prison?

Cut the crap.
You don't risk anything.

What about my investigations here?

- What do we do?
- Forget them.

You come back.

Okay. Well, bye.

Take me to the border.

I miss my country.

I can't. I have to go.

More absences?

The newspaper asked me to go back
because of a judiciary issue.

They cut me off.

And Baghdad? You're giving up?

I don't have a choice.

What do you mean
you don't have a choice?

This trial is just an excuse.

Do you want to go or not?

I don't know anymore.
There is nothing in front of me.

Ask Rami to take you South.


He can't circulate in Lebanon.

At the first checkpoint
he will get arrested.

Is he your friend or not?

You want to know if he is my friend?

What are you photographing?
There is nothing?

Precisely, I want to know
what will become of it.

Whitman... Leaves of grass.



Moby Dick.

Where is your white whale?

In Al-Mukhtâra.

Anarchism is not a political system

that exists or is definable.

It is not

isolatable nor organizable
like a party can be.

It penetrates and it traverses
every thought,

every political or
philosophical action.

It is one of its elements,

an ingredient more or less intense,
more or less visible,

but that, if we may say,

could not, by itself,
have the consistency of politics.

By the way,

it couldn't have
the philosophical consistency either.

At first, it exists

as the primordial existence
of a stateless society,

without authoritarian principle.

- Anarchy.
- Anarchy.



- Hey, how are you doing?

- Good. Are they torturing you?
- No, everything's fine.

- Battûta! How are you doing?
- Hey!

- You want to leave?
- Can I leave?

Go, the boss went to the mountain.
He won't come back today.

- Won't I have troubles if he comes back?
- No, don't worry.

If he comes back, I'll invent something.
No problem.

- Thank you Walid.
- You're welcome.

- Bye.
- May God protect you.

I'll be back on Monday.

Rami! Rami!

Your girlfriend is cute!

- What are you gonna do?
- I don't know.

I'm leaving.
But I still wonder where to.

Go back to Thessaloniki.

Go back?
I haven't accomplished anything yet.

What were you expecting?
To make a revolution?

To uprise all the Palestinians
in Lebanon and Arab territories?

- Is the ticket to Baghdad expensive?
- I don't know.

What would you do in Baghdad?

I don't know.

Accompany you.

I'll help you find your path.
You're not very smart for a journalist.

Look at you driving
in a city you don't know.

Just like Rimitti.

You lead the way, I follow.






- Who was it?
- Keep driving straight ahead.

- Take this.
- This does not interest me.

I know but take it.

This is a pass.
It's your passport.

The coins that were brought to me

were found in a pond.

Only metal

could resist the erasure process.

Maybe your investigation

can give a face
to the men who forged them.

What is it?

You will call this number.

Let's go.

You will buy a ticket for the USA.

- Where are the USA?
- I don't know.

- Will it be enough?
- Yes, you will still have some left.

If you don't like it there,
you'll be able to come back.

- Let's go there together!
- No, I must go somewhere else.

- Where are you going?
- I'm going... I'm going... Somewhere.

Go visit the ghosts of Kerouac for me.

And then what?

- And then what?
- East of West?

- For who? For me?
- Yes, for you.

- You now know?
- Yes, I have no more excuses.

What is there to find?

I don't know.

The faces of the Zanj.

Determine the extent of the defeat.

Find hope again.

A country?


I don't think so.

They are going the other way.

5,000$ each. Improvised departures
are more expensive.

- Hello.
- Hello, Sir.

- Could you call a number?
- Sure.





There is no answer.

- Are you sure about that number?
- I don't know.

- Thank you.
- My pleasure.

By the way...
has the Museum or Archeology reopened?

- Yes, but it is empty.
- Thank you.

We have already talked about
the war with the Zanj

and the victorious return
of El Mouaffaq.

When he came back
to the city of Mouaffagia,

he decided to put an end
to the traitors.

He received a letter from Loulou,
Ibn Touloun's servant,

asking him to fight them.

"The assassination of
the Master of the Zanj."

"Complete History" by Ibn El Athir,
Beirut, 1983.

What do you want?
An estimate?

It's worthless.

Barely a few dollars.

- Where does it come from?
- Basra, without a doubt.

A Zanj coin. Many of them
are available at the market.

Saddam ordered dykes to be built,
to punish the rebels.

They dried out the ponds.

Coins were then found
by the engineers on duty.

I have infinitely more interesting
things to show you.

Do you want to see?

I will go to Timbuktu.

I'll sit down, possessed,

beneath a porch of clay.

I will drink the water of the angels
in a calabash

and I will say:
"Perhaps you will come?"

I will go to Baghdad.

I will sit down near the river

and I will wander in Bab Cheikh.

Then I will leave Baghdad
with a few provisions.

I will go to Jerusalem and
I will write your names and my names.

I will engrave them
on the rocks of the high wall.

And I will give

a handful of wheat
to the frightened pigeons.

I will pass by myself and say...

"Perhaps you will come?"



- Good evening.
- Good evening. Remarkable, isn't it?

It's true.

- The Tigris has a good memory?
- I doubt it.

However, it's serene.

Will it take me to Basra?

You look lost.
What are you looking for?

I'm looking for a name, a face.


Get out of Baghdad.

South, the river is
even more beautiful.

- Okay.
- Okay, we will do it.

If we can find the rhythm,
everything will be fine.

Don't worry.

In the memory of Jackson Pollock.

Please, be careful.

I'd like Greenfield, Ohio.

The illuminated face
of Elizabeth Taylor.

The dark night,
Cordoba, Alabama.

The profound South.

Trains going to Miami.

Trains coming back from Tucson.

I'm fleeing...

I'm fleeing the South.

The beautiful South.

The wonderful South.



- New-Orleans, New-Hampshire...
- Hello, connect me to Lebanon, Nebraska.



- Douglas.
- Hello? Connect me to Clinton, Missouri.

Cinema Radio City,
Music Hall, Cinema Roxy.

Allerton avenue, Pelham Park,
Kings Great Road, Avenue...

- The sea!
- The road at night.

The desert at night.

Boats awaiting
their departure for Japan.

Boats awaiting
their departure for Formosa.

- Sleep.
- I was dreaming of San Francisco.

I arrived at night
in San Francisco.

There was not much light in the bay.
But in that morning...

Denville, Kansas.

I'm dreaming of San Francisco.

The sea...

That will let me approach you,

feel you,

be close to you,

caress you,

take you.

- The sea.
- When it's midnight...

That will let me approach you,

feel you,

be close to you, caress you...


Ô, land of speed!

Nest of encounters!

Ô, America without banks!

Ô, knocked-over America!

Ô, spray of journeys!

But... None of this was planned
in advance, right?

We were calmly
dismantling the Middle East.

And now, they're demanding

we close down
our secret operations in Iraq.


Let's keep fighting.

As long as it takes

to defeat radicalism.

Instead of getting us
all the support we need,

I'm already finding
myself on the carpet.


of having lied to
the federal investigators

concerning an accusation

of fraudulent and improper
use of funds

for the rebuilding of Iraq.

These fucking guys...

They doubt your loyalty.

They believe that you...

did not do what America
expected of you.

It was pure rock'n'roll!

All that cash!

To arm and pay to militia.

A suitcase for the Shiites,

a suitcase for the Sunnis,
a suitcase for...


Some are already talking
of retiring.

Don't worry about this.

You're protected.

None of this material
will be declassified.

They won't have any evidence.

???... a flat refusal.

I think too many people take seriously

what's engraved in the marble
at the entrance of the Age and says...

"You will know the truth
and the truth shall make you free."

I have to go and testify.

I feel so useless.

Fucking demoralizing.


don't worry.

These hearings...

They are smoke screens.

It's just fucking business.
It's oil.

My faith is strong, Sir.

Creative destruction.
Righteous force.

You know, we're the only
real revolutionaries.

I don't really understand
the reason for your visit.


the Algerian journalist part.

Just like you,
I'm sensitive to my country's history.


don't you think that in modern Iraq

there are more urgent matters?

The questions asked
ten centuries ago

by the revolted Zanj

have a specific echo
in the current Iraq.

Not only in Iraq, by the way.


you know that too.

Sabeha Djounoueïli.

She was the chief engineer
of the dyking project.

She was a syndicalist too.

Sabeha Djounoueïli
escaped death twice.

The first time,

a private guard from an oil company
threatened to throw a grenade

against the strikers
she was part of.

Another time,
during a demonstration,

she was denouncing
electric blackouts.

Iraqi soldiers, helped by
British soldiers, opened fire at her.

There were four dead.

The third time was the last.

An Islamic militia kidnapped
four members of our syndicate

and violently assassinated them.

They also plundered our offices.
The Zanj coins, especially.

Saddam never did us any favors.

The new masters of Baghdad
won't do any better.

Recite the Sura Fatiha.
May god bless you.

May God protect us.


Is Shat al-Arab far from here?

Non, just a few kilometers.

If we were to drift,
we would arrived quickly.

The Iranian border is just here.
A lot of people come here.

The coins were found nearby.

He will take you there.

The coins were found here.

But there is nothing.

Yes, but we are there.

- You've just arrived?
- Yes, why?

- You're going to Athens?
- Yes.

The Great City
has a hot pavement, Miss.

Subtitles: tadanobu@KG
Proofreading: flipflink