so HBO released this much awaited documentary on Syria and its been few hours but i’m still recovering from the impact of it.
please, i beg of you, if there is a beating heart and a conscience in you, kindly watch #criesfromsyria. all this fucked-up, nonsensical, racist rhetoric from all right-wing politicians around the globe focusing on this singular most magnified humanitarian crisis will sound exactly that, FUCKED UP.
the roots of how the revolution started is eerie, heart-wrenching. following multiple revolutions that arised in tunisia, libya and egypt during arab spring, syrian children started painting “you are next, dr. bashar” on school walls. slowly, those same children were kidnapped and brutally tortured to death by assad’s army.
delivering the tortured corpses of these children to their families, especially the mutilation of limbs and genitalia of 13yo hamza al-khatib led to a collective rage and massive protests by the syrian people against the regime. before you know it, there are multiple leaders and activists leading peaceful marches in all major cities. one activist that really stood out to me was giath matar. he led protests in the city of daraya and he appeased to syrian soldiers with flowers and bottle of water. ofcourse, his fate was later sealed in the brutal hands of syrian army, who tortured and killed him after keeping him captive for three days. even his burial shrine was guarded by soldiers for days after because of the sheer, symbolic power matar embodied.
i shiver while i try to write a recap of this harrowing documentary, like that’s how much i have been affected watching cries from syria. the issue of syria has been on my peripheral vision since arab spring but the severity of the civil war that has been continuing for 6 years now has always been a contained background noise. for an individual like me whose heavily invested in american politics, israel-palestine conflict and other subcontinent issues, syrian war seemed a confusing, never-ending saga that american mainstream media simply ignored. the average person around me doesn’t give two shits about wars in middle east, famine in somalia, tsunamis in asia etc etc. most (if not all) privileged citizens of the first world nations are apathetic to the extremes of inhumanity. we have blinders on good days, we indulge in frivolous pop culture bullshit, we spend shit load of money to keep sane and maintain some typa lifestyle. but also to be fair, many of us are embroiled within the confines of domestic fuckery, whether the issues deal with racism, healthcare, police brutality, sexism, women’s heath rights, citizens rights under NSA surveillance etc etc.
we are kinda living in a pretty fucked up country ourselves. our current government is barely functional, our election was the grand puppetshow mastered by putin, a rapist is the current Potus.. like just thinking about the current climate makes me want to cry. however, so as not to digress, the major difference between us and syrians are that none of our cities are under siege. there are no blockades to food and aid. our government doesn’t have the army breaking down doors, kidnapping children or killing protestors in broad daylight. cnn tends to make it seem like america is heading to war when clashes erupt between protestors and cops or store windows being broken etc. matter of fact, America isn’t in any civil war and these candyfloss journos should take notes from brave reporters who actually live amidst actual wars. we think that as a nation, we are heading towards a fascist regime but we haven’t yet and most probably, we won’t either. but syrians are under a gridlock by a war-criminal of a leader who uses chemical weapons against his own people while UN and the leaders of the “civilized nations” just mourn behind closed doors.
my head hurts, it is snowing outside, i’m sitting comfortably on my bed pondering how far-removed i am from the atrocities, pain and suffering felt by many millions of women, children, old people and men right now. i know i don’t have the power to do much but donate to trustworthy organizations, spread the word on my useless social medias, call up my inept congressmen and google adoption policies. i feel so obsolete, so paralyzed to be born into privilege of freedom, education, comfort and yet not knowing how to utilize this for the greater good. i want to be more proactive, i want to gain more knowledge, i want to remain steadfast and compassionate and i sure in hell have ample raging vocabulary to obliterate anyone who dares spews hateful rhetoric on syrian refugees.
but is any of this enough? what is the tipping point in a story with monsters and dead children? what is the endgame of beautiful, old cities bombarded to rubble and ashes? what is the power of the muslim ummah if the muslim leaders themselves are the actual apostates? so many what ifs, all i can feel is a dejected “what the fuck, God?”
please visit http://www.criesfromsyria.com to learn more, to donate, to be involved. #criesfromsyria is one hell of an hour and a half documentary directed by evgeny afineevsky. you will definitely cry, you will understand patriotism, you will surely cherish freedom.
In memory of Giath Matar – picture from The Resurrection Project by Jaber Al Azmeh