“If we speak calmly, in a businesslike fashion, let me draw your attention to the fact that Russia supplies arms to the legitimate government of Syria in full compliance with the norms of international law. We are not breaching any rules and norms.”
~ Vladimir Putin
The tragic civil war still raging in Syria, since 2011, has taken world headlines with stories and images of cities in ruin and its residents fleeing refuge in neighboring countries. More recently, the current US administration has rained tomahawk missiles upon an airfield where allegedly the origination of gas attacks (approved by President Bashar al-Assad) were carried out and killed as many as 100 people, including women and children. War is business with horrendous consequences. No one is safe and the mask of innocence will always be ripped away. At this time, the world itself is complicit in what is taking place in Syria and our responsibility is colored with differing perceptions of morality, business, politics, and religious grounds. The countries participating and aiding this war are just as guilty as Assad’s actions on his own people.
The film that True/False presented paints a very human face on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement for a “businesslike fashion” for the Syrian conflict. People are at the forefront in the starkly humanistic film, “The War Show”.
Danish director Andreas Dalsgaard worked closely with Syrian radio host Obaidah Zytoon to paint a moving video essay of a circle of friends (activists and artists) who took to the streets to protest the harsh leadership of President Assad in the exuberance of the 2011 Arab Spring, which saw citizens raising their voices collectively. The film stands apart with a treatment of young people loving, learning, finding their voice amidst the aftermath which lead to an ongoing and devastating civil war. The focus is on the spirit of revolution rushing headlong into the face of unbelievable odds.
Zytoon took her camera and captured images of protest that are powerful because it places actual faces upon these events. It is no surprise that the young people of Syria strive for what we all want like freedom, justice, and peace or understanding between conflicting parties. We are thrown right into the crowds wishing for both a secular and Muslim based government and it is striking to see how both factions take to the same street without conflict. The unifying theme is to rid the current government of Assad. What was presented in the today’s media colors a very different picture.
“The War Show” was culled from years of footage shot by Zytoon which covers the ecstatic cries of revolution to the harsh reality of civil war and imprisonment and sometimes…death. The viewer gets to know this close circle with glimpses of emerging relationships, road trips to the city of Hom (the city in recent news) that open eyes and hearts, and a growing sense of hopelessness where cherished dreams are shockingly torn asunder. Many do not survive. This hammers home the sorely lacking human element that is lost in headline wars.
After the film, we listened to questions and answers that, not surprisingly, unearthed precious few actual answers. “The War Show” displays what we must never forget; the people protesting, fighting, and dying are individuals very much like us with universal desires. It asks tough questions. Television news fights for ratings and viewers nightly, so stories look faceless and lack any personal element. What makes this film powerful is that it places on the table, so casually, how fragile and brittle young lives really are in the face of war. War is an old man’s game played with young lives. It is profane and obscene, and yet Syria continues down this path while we still sit idly by watching from the sidelines.
(Obaidah Zytoon, pictured above during the 2011 Arab Spring protests)
“The War Show”  directed by Obaidah Zytoon and Andreas Dalsgaard
RATING: Run, Do Not Walk To This Film (Syria has been in the news for a long time, but this film will present the human side to the war footage shown in the media)
currently available on YouTube