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Afghan Overdose. Inside opium trade

Afghanistan is the world’s biggest exporter of black-market opium from which heroin is made. It’s a multi-billion dollar business, responsible for around a hundred thousand deaths every year and it’s a major source of income for terrorists. RT Doc travelled to the poppy fields where death is harvested.

Zabbaleen: Trash Town. A whole community in Egypt that lives on rubbish

Tens of thousands of people live in Zabbaleen, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, they all make a living out of recycling the entire capital city’s refuse. Their whole town is practically a giant dump and it provides them with almost everything they need: from kids’ toys to fodder for livestock.  Even their pigs play an important part in recycling food waste. Most important of all though, the dump provides livelihoods for the people of Zabbaleen.

Every one of the rubbish collectors plays their own part, gathering, transporting or sorting the rubbish. Collectively, everyone in the community performs a highly efficient job of recycling Cairo’s refuse. This allows the trash town to be self-sufficient and largely independent from the rest of the city. The place has its own rules, everyone is allocated their own patch of Cairo, no one would think of collecting from someone else’s area.  Zabbaleen even has an unofficial mayor.

Her War: Women VS ISIS

The town of Serekaniye in Syria is the last major town bordering the “Islamic State”. The mainly Kurdish local population is determined to fight the murderous ISIS and prevent them from entering their town. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) were formed after the Syrian Army’s attempts to combat the jihadist threat failed. Among its fighters are young women, who chose to defend themselves and their families from the belligerent invaders. RTD visits a YPJ female training camp to learn about these courageous young women and to see how they train to face the enemy. Controlling vast areas of land in Syria and Iraq, and overseeing over 6 million people, ISIS is the single largest and most dangerous terrorist organization in the Middle East. After the Syrian Army failed to protect its citizens against the threat, the people were left with no one to defend them. In 2012, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) stepped up to the cause. Within these civilian armed forces is the YPJ, an all-women military unit. The women who join YPJ are varied. Coming from the typically poorer regions and families in the areas, girls as young as 16 join the group in order to fight for their country. Either with or without the permission of their families, some girls travel from as far away as neighboring Turkey in order to become YPJ fighters. There is only one barring requirement for new inductees, that they be unmarried. The reasons for these women to enlist in YPJ vary. Some are simply fighting for their country, while others are more idealistic. Such sentiments as equal rights, religious freedom, and a call for democracy can be heard throughout the make-shift training camp for new recruits. YPJ volunteers explain that ISIS fears them, as in that organization, death by a woman is said to send a militant straight to hell. So these women and girls leave their families and villages to fight for their land and their freedom.

Afghan Kidney Sales – Selling Vital Organs to Survive Afghan Kidney Sales is the new film by RT Documentary, which explores the phenomenon of selling kidneys in the Afghan region of Herat. Locals, exhausted by constant debt and a lack of  decent jobs, resort to selling their kidneys on the black market. The stories of Herat province residents who put their kidneys up for sale are different, but the idea is the same: they all need money to support their families. But selling kidneys doesn’t solve any problems for these people. Instead, hasty, illegal and unsanitary surgery permanently damage their health, and as a result, they dig themselves even deeper. How does this vicious circle work? Is there a way out? Find out in our documentary.

BEIRUT: Picking up the pieces  In August last year, around 300,000 people became homeless in Beirut. A horrific explosion rocked the port, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. Not only was the port destroyed, but scores of buildings were ruined within a 10 km blast radius. Thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the port for years with no safety measures in place.

In August 2020, around 300,000 people became homeless in Beirut. The horrific explosion rocked the port in Lebanese capital, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. But not only the port was destroyed, as scores of buildings were ruined in 10 km around the blast. Thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate have been stored for years in the port with no safety measures in place.

Now many who lost their loved ones are still waiting for the government to name the culprits. The tragedy has prompted a fury among the residents, who call for an imminent action. They want to know who was aware of the danger but did nothing to prevent the explosion.

Black Holes of Yama! When mysterious craters first appeared in the Yamal peninsula in 2013, scientists didn’t know what caused them. Colossal holes up to 30 metres deep look as if they were left by powerful blasts. Wild theories proliferated on social media pointing to meteorites, aliens, and stray missiles.

Russian scientists are working to solve the mystery surrounding enormous craters that have appeared in the Yamal tundra. When giant holes began forming in 2013, it wasn’t clear what was causing them. The ground exploded spontaneously, frightening indigenous Nenets people. One witness described it as if “the earth was breathing.”So far researchers have identified 17 of these mysterious craters that are up to 30 meters deep and are trying to establish their cause. The Yamal peninsula is a land of permanently frozen ground increasingly affected by global warming, but this is the only permafrost zone where mysterious craters have formed.

NO WAY BACK: Heat We can all see the frightening consequences of climate change. In Yemen, increasingly hot summers are driving farmers from the land and maybe fuelling a gruesome war. In the Norwegian Arctic, average temperatures have risen by 4-5 degrees Celsius, threatening the icecap. Population economist Jesus Crespo Cuaresma tells RTD about the link he discovered between global warming and the Arab Spring.

NO WAY BACK: Water Sixty years ago it was estimated one in four people didn’t have enough water to live by; these days it’s one in three. As the world’s population grows, there is increased pressure on the water resources on the planet. Some areas suffer from extreme water shortages, while others are at the risk of too much and flooding. The only way to relieve the current water crisis is on a global scale, but some developed countries appear unwilling to take any meaningful steps.

Sons of the Graveyard In recent years, the number of funerals has increased sharply, a consequence of the various wars that have blighted Iraq. Veteran and novice gravediggers share their life lessons from living among the dead. An anti-US group became the anti-ISIS militia, Saraya Salam, formerly the Mahdi Army, which now has its own section in the cemetery. A militia spokesman talks about what will put an end to young militia members being buried in such large numbers.

Seeking Recognition Palestine Daily life for Palestinian Arabs has been about the struggle to take back their land, and their destiny, from Israel. Daily life for Palestinians is about fighting back against Israel for control of their territory. Palestine has non-member state observer status at the UN, but since 1948, its land has been eaten up by a series of wars and the establishment of illegal Israeli settlements.

RTD takes you back in time to understand how Palestinians became strangers in their own land, and on a journey through the towns of the West Bank and Gaza, where locals find creative ways to resist Israel’s control over daily life.