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Cherkess: Mohydeen Quandour's New Film Project

posted by circassiankama on August, 2009 as CIRCASSIA ADIGA

Cherkess: Mohydeen Quandour's New Film Project

Sunday, 24 May 2009 20:55


(Al Sharrakissa)
Mohy Quandour
Film Concepts and objectives

Jordan is a mosaic of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society, rich in traditions and universal concepts of harmony and tolerance. Our film tells the story of one element that contributed to this colourful mosaic and was instrumental in the growth of this harmony and tolerance in an otherwise historically fertile ground for intolerance and tribal conflict. The Circassians' presence in this land and their story is our film story. 


1. The first obvious objective of any Television or film media is of course entertainment. We believe this film will contain ample material that entertains and also informs.

2. The story of the arrival and settlement of the Circassians in the Ottoman territory of Trans-Jordan has never been told in Television or film. It is a fascinating story of two completely alien cultures (the Bedouin & the Cherkess) that came together and co-existed peacefully since 1876. Circassians have never thought of themselves as a minority in Jordan. In fact the term 'minority' is a western concept because it does not exist in Islam or the Islamic history of the region. But the introduction of this new culture, the Circassian, had far reaching implications to the region; in the development of agriculture, commerce, animal husbandry and in social etiquette. Later, the role the Circassians played in the formation of the modern Kingdom of Jordan is undeniable.

3. The film story describes the kinds of problems which were encountered (social & political) and how these problems were settled to the satisfaction of all the inhabitants of the region. The political administration of the period was Ottoman, and centred in the town of Salt with a miniscule, nearly negligible police force for keeping the peace. Therefore any serious disagreements or issues had to be resolved by the settlers and their neighbours, the Bedouin tribes.

4. The major issues faced were water rights to the stream of Ras Al Ain, and other possible encroachments on the rights of both societies; one nomadic, defending its freedom to roam everywhere, and the other agricultural needing to produce food for their own consumption and for trade.  Social interaction was kept to the minimum during the early period, but was inevitable as the two societies grew, tenaciously protecting and defending their own traditions and cultural heritage.  Friendships grew between the two groups and this inescapably led to some social interaction leading to intermarriage and possible disturbance of the harmony that the elders of both communities worked hard to establish. Conflicts arose, but how these conflicts were settled is the essence of drama and what makes our film worthwhile.

5. Our film will reveal the intimate secrets of both cultures and how these totally different cultures found some common values for co-existence. It is a love story between a young Circassian immigrant and the daughter of a prominent Bedouin Sheikh; two young souls who find insurmountable obstacles for happiness, but whose affection grows out of innocent passion and the obstinate attraction of the innocent young, to overcome all obstacles.

The Film Story

Background: The first Circassians arrived to Trans-Jordan from the Caucasus, via the Balkans and Palestine in 1876. Other emigrations took place haphazardly to the end of the Century and all these immigrants settled between the Roman Amphitheatre and Marka along the stream of Ras Al Ain. These Circassians were from the Shapsough tribes of the Western Caucasus. The next major arrivals took place at the end of the Century (Circa 1899/1900). These came by way of Istanbul via Damascus on the new Hejaz Railway and were of the Eastern Circassians (The Kabardey). It is their story that is being revealed in our film.

The Ottoman Kaim Makam or Wali in Salt calls Temur, an elder of the Shapsough Circassians already settled in Amman to tell him that a new batch of Circassian immigrants were sent from Istanbul and they could arrive very soon by train from Damascus. The problem he wants to discuss with Temur is where to settle these new-comers. Temur had made an arrangement with the Bani Sakhr tribes not to encroach on Ras Al Ain itself and the original Shapsough were settled further down the stream beyond the Roman amphitheatre. The Kaim Makam proposes some lands in the north or in the valleys beyond the Balka district, but Temur insists that the immigrants will need water because they will want to farm and produce their own food. Azrak or Jerash are too far and does not serve the Ottoman's policy, which is to have them near the new Hejaz Railway, to act as protectors or to work on the railway extension towards the Saudi borders. The only alternative left is for Temur to convince his new friends the Bani Sakhr to accept their settlement at Ras Al Ain itself.

The immigrants arrive by train. Temur and some of his friends meet the new immigrants and they are given hospitality among the different Shapsough families while he sorts out a location for settlement. One of the new arrivals is a young boy (Nart) whom Temur becomes fond of and decides to train for leadership. He takes him along when he goes to the Sheikhs of Bani Sakhr for the meeting. While there, this young man sees a lovely Bedoiun maiden (Hind) and a spontaneous attraction develops between the two young souls. He is not aware that she is the daughter of the Sheikh himself.

The social complications progress, some of them comic because Nart's Arabic is none-existent and communication is difficult with some words and sign language, and the two young teenagers begin to meet in secret. But such a secret cannot be kept for long, and when the brother of Hind discovers the relationship he begins causing trouble between the immigrant Cherkess and the local tribes. The boy's family is also totally opposed to the relationship because they recognise the cultural disparity between the two peoples and what problems this might cause with the Bedouins.

The story progresses exposing comparisons between the two cultures and the daily life hardships in both societies. Universal values are discussed and exposed; common interests and values are shared until a rapprochement is arrived at between these two cultures for a peaceful and productive partnership which emerges to form the back-bone of the future society of modern Jordan.

Mohydeen I. Quandour

Producer Director Mohydeen Quandour is searching for a Circassian speaking young actor (16-25 years) to play the lead role in his up-coming production of 'Cherkess'. He needs a professional theatrical or Television actor with experience because the role is demanding professionally. Language ability is critical. Any recommendations or contacts can be addressed to him directly at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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