De Balie Kijkt: My Maysoon

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Batoul Karbijha tries to find out what happened to her sister Maysoon, who disappeared years ago in the Mediterranean while she was trying to flee from the Syrian war

Batoul Karbijha
Arabisch, Italiaans, Engels, Nederlands
On 24 August 2014, 20-year-old Maysoon Karbijha disappeared on the Mediterranean Sea. She was on her way from Syria to Europe when her boat capsized. Of the 712 people on board, 352 were rescued, 24 bodies were taken from the water by the Italian navy, and around 170 remaining people have been missing ever since. Maysoon is one of them. 

Batoul’s search puts her on a trail that leads from Sicily through Tunisia to Libya, and confronts her with graveyards full of missing migrants, in a labyrinth of ignorance, indifference and powerlessness. The search also results in a confrontation with her family. They have built a new life in the Netherlands, but for years they have not been able to talk about Maysoon as they refuse to accept that she may no longer be alive. For Batoul, the search is also a means to be able to talk about Maysoon with her family. An intimate process in which loss, pain and hope prevail, with everything depending on the outcome of her search.

Since 2014, more than 25.000 migrants have disappeared on the Mediterranean Sea while on their way to Europe.  Their families and friends are left behind, trying to find a way to cope. While following the story of one family, this film paints a picture of the immense pain that behind every Maysoon lost in the Mediterranean.

After the film, Amade Aouatef M’charek talks with Batoul about tragedy, hope and the painful process we witness in this film.


Batoul KarbijhaDirector
Amade Aouatef M’charekProfessor, expert in forensic genetic