Three powerful stories are told in this film: the story of an unwanted baby, the story of a baby whose future is in jeopardy, and the story of an absent baby.

The story that opens and closes the episode takes place in Palestine. Fatima is caught up in a cycle of pregnancies because of the social pressure to produce a male child. Her current pregnancy is her sixth. Fatima's determination to give birth to yet another child is motivated primarily by her fear that her husband will marry another woman, if she cannot give him a son.

In Baghdad, Daoud is a sick baby born under the international sanctions against Iraq. Providing basic nourishment and vaccinations is an uphill struggle. His parents discuss their fears about the fate of children born in Iraq today.

Roza lives in a Syrian village. After many years of childless marriage, she has learned that her husband has the fertility problem, not her. This is a revealing and moving saga of a woman caught between yearning to have a child and trying to assert herself within the traditional codes and expectations of her society.

'[ARAB DIARIES] presents a rare critical insight into contemporary life in the Arab world. The quality of sound and cinematography of this series is superb. The films contain a rich source of information on a culture that is often guarded from the west. It dares to bring up strong issues without imposing judgment on the values discussed. The series is a good example of how much more we have to learn about the Middle East - the films managed to raise an eyebrow once or twice, even though I spent almost 20 years in that region. Highly recommended to all kinds of libraries, especially academic libraries with undergraduate studies related to culture, anthropology, or Middle Eastern studies, as well as libraries with internship programs in the Middle East.' - Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Davies, Deborah (film producer)
Kuttab, Daoud (film producer)
Ziv, Ilan (film producer)
Ferraj, Suheir (filmmaker)
Hashim, Abbas (filmmaker)
Esber, Abeer (filmmaker)

Other credits

Editor, Nahed Awwad; music, Ross Lossing.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Middle East
Women's Health
Women's Studies


Film; Video; Documentary; Arab; Palestine; Iraq; Syrian; Pregnancy; Patriarchal Society; Birth; Mother; Islam; Muslim; "Birth"; Icarus Films