Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria: The Failed Siege | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

At the end of the courageous documentary on the Syrian revolution produced by the Franco-German ARTE television network and broadcast by a number of Western and Arab television channels, a group of children – the eldest no older than 9 years old – appear on the screen, laughing and chanting the most famous slogan in Syria today, “Step down, Bashar!”

This scene appears to be spontaneous and to have been filmed in one take; whilst during the editing process the faces of the children are obscured in order to protect them from the Syrian regime and its thugs. This is something that was vital, as some of those who appeared in the documentary or contributed to its production are either missing today or imprisoned by the regime, as revealed by the documentary-makers at the end of the documentary. The documentary focused on testimony from Syrian army defectors, as well as the families of Syrian political activists killed during the protests.

It is true that this documentary was important, not least because such documentaries are rare, however its content did not exceed that which the Syrian revolutionary activists broadcast to the world every day. Those revolutionaries are all in agreement with regards to the importance of documenting their revolution and the daily developments on the Syrian scene. This highlights the courage possessed by these Syrian protesters and activists, as well as the regime’s cruel and brutal nature.

The ARTE documentary is amongst the most notable documentaries about the Syrian revolution to have been screened by the traditional media following months of the Syrian regime’s policy of suppression, imprisonment, and censorship with regards to Arab and international media. In recent months, we have also seen journalists risk their lives by infiltrating Syria in order to uncover and document the crimes being carried out by the Syrian regime against the protesters.

However the Syrian protestors have also developed mechanisms of documenting their political activism and revolution, as well as the daily violence they face at the hands of the Syrian regime. Traditional journalists have also been successful in monitoring the revolution’s daily occurrences from within, though not on a large scale.

Indeed it was the Syrian revolution that took the lead in this regard and which has been the focus of attention in the entire world; the Syrian revolutionaries have been successful in transforming their revolution into headline news in most international media.

What deserves admiration, apart from the traditional media’s infiltration of the dangerous scene in Syria, is how the Syrian protesters have developed the process of citizen journalism, utilizing the internet to promote their revolution. Indeed, these revolutionaries have become documentary-makers in their own right, filming and directing their own scenes. In Homs, for example, when demonstrators line up [during protests], they do so in order to allow the cameras to record their march and reveal their true numbers. This is in response to the regime’s claims that the number of protestors is limited and that all the Syrian people “love” the Syrian president, who has threatened to cause an “earthquake” if his regime is toppled.

A documentary of the type produced by ARTE serves as a new indicator of the failure of the regime’s plan to prohibit the documentation of its crimes and starve the Syrian revolution of media attention. The regime failed to besiege the revolution, indeed it is the revolution that is besieging the Syrian regime today and shaking its pillars, which will certainly lead to the regime’s collapse!