Syria: A Fire Within

A scene from "Syria: A Fire Within."
A scene from “Syria: A Fire Within.”

Amid the flurry of really wonderful documentaries about Syria and the Syrian revolution that are emerging these days, this one might represent a more modest effort in this regard, and might seems a bit dated now since it was mostly filmed in the summer of 2012. Still, since the focus here is to trace the roots of the Syrian revolution and its transformation into an armed struggle, and to showcase the betrayal of the nonviolent liberal prodemocracy activists that led the early protests throughout the country by the leaders of the free world, the subject matter maintains certain relevance and seems to distinguish this effort from other works.

Moreover, and despite its focus on the activities of the Tharwa team of nonviolent activists, the film is the result of an independent production effort. The Tharwa Foundation did not initiate the project and was not part to the production team. It was the filmmakers’ familiarity with Tharwa’s efforts in the years preceding the revolution that prompted them to approach us and seek our help in this regard by becoming the vehicle through which the story was told. For this, the production team has our undying appreciation. Not too many people would remember or even acknowledge the critical role that liberal activists have at one point played in leading the nonviolent struggle for freedom and justice in Syria, and the region as a whole. But they led the way, and many ended up dead or in exile. And some might still be trapped in Assad’s concentration camps, awaiting death as result of the inhuman torture to which all detainees are subjected, or starvation.

The documentary will be screened on August 27, 2014, 7:30 pm, at the DC Arts Center located at 2438 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (See map). Afterwards, Emmanuel Benhammou, one of the filmmakers behind this brave effort, and myself will have a brief discussion to further elucidate some of the challenges that liberal prodemocracy activists in Syria and the region have to face.

This is the official trailer and synopsis:

Syria: A Fire Within is a documentary that explores Syria’s revolution from the vantage point of seasoned activist and dissident, Ammar Abdulhamid. Ten years ago, Abdulhamid established a non-profit dedicated to democracy and human rights in the heart of Damascus. But he was soon exiled to the US, and he became the first Syrian to testify before Congress about the atrocities of the Assad regime. Abdulhamid explores the seeds of dissent in Syria, that run back much farther than the past two years, and takes viewers on a journey to the heart of the insurgency. Viewers meet rebel fighters transporting equipment from Turkey to Syria, as well as small towns on the outskirts of Idlib and Aleppo, in the “liberated north” of the country. Syria: A Fire Within strives to capture the struggle that ordinary Syrians are facing in ridding their country of a decades-long dictatorship, while acknowledging the very real obstacles that lie before them.

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