Arabic for Solidarity

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(English subtitles)

In May 2015, two Arabic languages teachers in Palma de Mallorca decided to offer free classes as the refugee crisis grew. The public response was more than they expected. Yet nine months later, just 19 refugees have been welcomed by the Spanish government while the waiting list for the course continues to grow.


  1. 00:07 Empty hallway of school
  2. 00:12 Student walk up stairs of school
  3. 00:15 Empty classroom
  4. 00:20 Sign on noticeboard of 'Official School of Languages'
  5. 00:22 Two people walking in hallway of school
  6. 00:25 Female student looking down at paper
  7. 00:27 Female student shuffling paper and listening to teacher
  8. 00:29 Other students listening to teacher
  9. 00:31 Matias, teacher, talking up near blackboard
  10. 00:33 Female student listening to teacher
  11. 00:35 Myriam, director of studies, sat down: interview soundbite
  12. 00:39 Female student writes down notes
  13. 00:41 Myriam continues interview soundbite
  14. 00:44 Matias asks question to female students in Arabic
  15. 00:46 Female students get ready to respond to Matias question
  16. 00:48 Matias sat down: interview soundbite
  17. 00:51 Matias explains in front of blackboard
  18. 00:54 Female student smiles and interacts with male student
  19. 00:57 Two female students interact and smile
  20. 00:59 Matias continues interview soundbite
  21. 01:01 Female students asks Matias a question
  22. 01:10 Female student asks Matias a different question, Matias responds and gives answer
  23. 01:15 Matias stands at blackboard and gives explanation of meaning of ma' assalama
  24. 01:22 Black screen with final text
  25. 01:26 Credits number 1
  26. 01:32 Credits number 2


  1. soundbite (Catalan)
    Matias Catalán, Arabic language teacher: 00:18 "Remember that 'ssshhh', is a..." 00:18 Police siren in background 00:18 Sound of chalk writing on blackboard
  2. soundbite (Catalan)
    Matias Catalán, Arabic language teacher: 00:26 "...ssshh, like the Catalan 'x', as in xocolata,"
  3. soundbite (Catalan)
    Matias Catalán, Arabic language teacher: 00:31 "tasharaffna, the same as shukran."
  4. soundbite (Spanish)
    Myriam Frayle, Director of Language Studies: 00:35 "We want the students who do the course to at least be able to give a warm welcome to the Syrian refugees."
  5. soundbite (Catalan)
    Matias Catalán, Arabic language teacher: 00:48 "If you speak to a child in a way that feels familiar, they'll feel more comfortable than if you speak in French, English or Standard Arabic."
  6. soundbite (Arabic and Spanish)
    Matias Catalán, Arabic language teacher: 01:16 "' assalama, ma' assalama, ma' assalama..." 01:20 "What does it mean?" 01:21 "Goodbye."