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Archive for May 30th, 2014

Syrian Women battle continues

 

Syria Trojan Women: the battle continues

BEIRUT, by Élodie Morel | iloubnan.info – May 18, 2014, 14h46 <!––>
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In December 2013, around 40 Syrian women performed Euripides’ “Trojan Women” on stage in Amman, Jordan.

All of the actresses were refugees that had fled their country to escape the war that began three years ago. Euripides wrote the Trojan Women in 415 BC.

However, the tragedy could have been written yesterday, for these Syrian refugees. Just like the Trojan Women, they lost everything when they left Syria: their homes, their jobs, their possessions and in many cases, their loved ones.

The co-founders of the project now want to portray this experience through a documentary entitled Queens of Syria.

In a large, bright room, somewhere in Amman, Syrian women, all refugees living in the Jordan capital, are playing Musical Chairs.
All of them are running and laughing like children.
One woman slips and falls on her bottom, trying to sit down, she bursts out laughing with her friends.This surprising and heart-warming scene was filmed during the Syria Trojan Women project, launched in October 2013, where 40 Syrian refugees participating in drama therapy workshops worked together to perform Euripides’Trojan Women tragedy on stage in December.

Those images are striking and truly moving. They will be used to create a documentary entitled Queens of Syria, dedicated to the two-month long process of the project.

This film still needs financing to see the light. You can watch more of the footage in this video, where filmmaker Yasmin Fedaa explains why it is crucial to finalize the production of the documentary:

Journalist and award-winning former foreign correspondent, Charlotte Eagar is one of the co-founders of the Syria Trojan Women project.

Months ago, she got the idea of having Syrian refugees perform in Euripides’ tragedy on stage. She had been familiar with this mythical play since reading it during her time at university: And in 1992, while covering the conflict in Bosnia, she heard it on the BBC World Service.

The words echoed with the reality she was living at that time. This play is a universal, timeless tale about war and its victims.

Charlotte is also an award-winning filmmaker. The year before the Syria Trojan Women project was born, she co-directed and co-wrote a mini soap in Kenya entitled “Something’s Got to Change”, with young amateur actors, in a Nairobi slum for the NGO Emerging Leaders.

“I realized that through this project, the children became confident, proud of what they had done,” she said. ‘“When this project was completed, I was looking for another idea. I discussed with Oxfam about useful initiatives to launch. They suggested that we address the situation of the Syrian refugees in different countries neighboring Syria. The story of the Syrian women made me think of Euripides’ tragedy.”

Just like the Trojan Women, the Syrian women lost everything when they fled their country.

From Lebanon to Jordan

The project was supposed to take place in Lebanon, the country hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees.

There are more than one million officially registered refugees there. “We wanted to do it in Lebanon, but we had to change our plans for security purposes,” Charlotte told us as we contacted her from Beirut. She explained that, as a former war correspondent, she was not really worried about the security situation in Lebanon, but insurance companies most certainly were.

“Not a single one accepted to insure the project.” So the organizers decided to do it in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a much more stable country.

The objective of the Syria Trojan Women project was to help refugees through drama-therapy, but also to publicize this crisis and to raise the audience’s awareness about the humanitarian situation in Syria.

The drama-therapy was really effective.

Charlotte Eagar explained to us that the play “gave a voice to those women. It gave them a feeling of achievement and dignity; it was also a way for them to escape their daily ‘routine’. They were not living in refugee camps; they had found homes around Amman.

They had at one point felt isolated and lonely, but coming to the drama-therapy sessions was a way to build new relationships.

A kindergarten was also set up to take care of the children of the participants. Just like their mothers, the children made new friends as well. This project was great for everyone!”

Two performances took place at the National Centre for Culture and Performing Arts in Amman on December 17 and 18, 2013.

After performing on stage, the women said they felt that people listened to their story. For once, they were directly speaking to the public, without any media between them and the audience.

The audience was composed of the refugees’ families, and also of Jordanian locals and expatriates.

“After the play, people said: ‘now I really feel like I understand what it is like to be a refugee’”, stated Georgina Paget, a London-based film producer. Georgina is also a co-founder of the Syria Trojan Women project.

Paget told us, “After watching and listening to these women, the people in the audience understood what life could be like in such a situation. They understood that these refugees were people just like them. One of the women used to work in her town’s administration services, you know. She could be anyone of us.”

Fighting compassion fatigue

This play is also a way to fight compassion fatigue, which is one of the biggest challenges of the project. “People are tired of caring,” Georgina explained. “There is a compassion fatigue in general and especially regarding Syria. We feel it every day. For example, the amount of money collected by NGOs for Syria is much smaller than the amount collected after the Philippines’ hurricane.”

The Syria Trojan Women performance in December was also a success from an artistic point of view. They have been invited to perform in places such as the UK, the US and Switzerland. But getting visas for Syrian refugees to certain countries is difficult. So, to reach as many people as possible, the organizers are now trying to finalize the documentary, “Queens of Syria”.

“The objective of the documentary is to reach more people, to let as many people as possible hear the story of these women. We filmed the drama-therapy sessions, the rehearsals and the performances, thanks to a grant from the Asfari Foundation and private donations,” Georgina Paget said. “We have 88 hours of footage and we need money to make a documentary out of them”.

A 3’30 trailer for the documentary was released online. It shows the refugees, passionate about what they do, about the play and about being together. It is truly moving. You can watch it here:

To finance the production of the documentary, the Syria Trojan Women Project launched a crowdfounding campaign on Indiegogo, a crowdfounding digital platform.

“We hope that by watching this documentary, just like by watching the performance in Amman, people will begin to understand what is really happening. They will see Syrian refugees as real persons and not only as statistics delivered by the media. They will see individuals telling their stories,” Georgina said, while adding that, “to make the people care, we need to give them something personal and beautiful as well. Out of their own tragedy, the women created something beautiful. They created art.”

– See more at: http://www.iloubnan.info/artandculture/80938/Syria-Trojan-Women:-the-battle-continues#sthash.iD7pzhPN.dpuf

Insipid President (The Void) vacated Palace: Filled the vacant chair and left it vacant. Account in banks by the millions

Lebanon ridiculous shadow State.

This ex-president is Michel Suleiman, the President of the Void per excellence: no one cried when he vacated the Palace, accompanied by 10 new luxury cars of his own, free from taxes.

Suleiman dreamt of extending his tenure 2 more years, as the Parliament did last year and robbed the citizens from their democratic rights, as did the ex-president Lahoud, as did the late ex- president Hrawi…

The hopes of Suleiman were dashed since his passive practices and antagonistic positions on Hezbollah alienated the Shiaa and most of  Lebanese patriots. Three months ago, in desperation, Suleiman referred to Hezbollah as talking with a “wooden mouth” since the resistance insisted on the strategic line of “People, Army and Resistance

In order to demonstrate that he can still deliver on his promises (6 years overdue) if given two more years, Saudi Arabia and the US gave the green light to the Mustakbal (Future) movement of Saad Hariri to help constitute a government that was 395 days in waiting.

The government started with a flurry of decisions, like imposing a climate of security in the city of Tripoli and the regions bordering Syria in the Bekaa Valley and appointed a dozen high-level public servants.

The public service was denied the  appointment of key personnel for a decade and the services in Lebanon were almost non-existent.

The professors and teachers in the public universities were left in the void and the government replaced the University Council in appointing and controlling every decision concerning the universities.

During Suleiman warming of the Chair, no government was formed in less than 200 days, the recent government needed 395 days of gestation.

Suleiman delivered a farewell speech suggesting dozens of constitutional reforms and failed to deliver on his promises for decentralized administration, a project that was finished when he took office, and alienated many parties and organization to boost the economy that has been experiencing a drastic slump for the last 3 years.

He also promised a fair election law, something related to proportional representation, but never acted on it.

He failed in extending rights to women or appointing more women in top posts.

Suleiman failed to efficiently control the flood of Syrian refugees, more than 1.25 million and constituting a third of the population, and allowed the Syrian insurgents free flowing and crossing of the Lebanese borders.

In essence, in 6 years, Suleiman cannot be remembered of creating any institution or bolstering any existing institution.

Suleiman was army chief when the Lebanese political leaders met in Do7a (Qatar) to decide on a replacement “neutral” Maronite  president to “lead” the country for 6 years.

On May 7, Hezbollah counter-attacked the decisions of the government to clip its control on the airport security and land communication lines. The government retracted and Hezbollah succeeded in closing down a dozen of Israeli safe havens for their agents and security offices disguised as providing civil guards to businesses and personalities.

Consequently, with ex-President Lahoud, already out with a vacant Presidential chair, and a government out of function, Qatar angered Saudi Arabia by inviting the Lebanese leaders to meet in Doha and arranged for a compromise President. And Suleiman sat on the chair of the presidency.

In democratic countries, the leader of the largest parliamentary deputies is the one selected to lead. Not in Lebanon with 19 officially recognized religious castes.

Lebanon is a parliamentary system: Nothing is run without the parliament approval, even in the executive or judiciary. But the leader of the largest group is not necessarily the de facto leader: The consensus of the two third of the deputies is required.

As the uprising started in Syria, the propaganda claimed that the regime of Bashar Assad will not last two months. And Suleiman put all his eggs in tha basket of “after Bashar” and refrained from securing Lebanon’s borders from the infiltrations of the Syrian insurgents and refugees.

For two years, Lebanon was the main source for supplying the insurgents in Homs with weapons and medical supplies, and the Syrian insurgents established bases in Lebanon in the north and in the city of Tripoli.

The Lebanese army was not covered politically to established security in Tripoli, and Tripoli was plagued with 20 rounds of civil wars within a year.

And Lebanon experienced waves of suicide car explosion attacks for 4 months due to the open borders that the army was denied the responsibility to close and control

He filled a vacant chair and left the chair vacant: The Parliament failed to elect a new President to Lebanon.

And Lebanon has no President. And this event will keep recurring. As the frequency of Lebanon having no governments.

And no decision can be legitimate without the President review and signature.

Suleiman vacated the Palace with dozens of villas newly built for him and his family members, and $1.6 million in an account in Amsterdam Bank. All the expensive watches that he received in gifts were sold, many of are in the black market. All these financial information were exposed in the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar.

And Suleiman satisfied the policies of US in the Near East, and consequently he can rest assured that he will not be prosecuted for any kinds of embezzlement or any kinds of political harassment or denied visas or any headaches

In this total void, and the illegitimacy of the highest institutions to properly function, Israel is increasing its violations on the southern borders. Pretty soon, Hezbollah would set up a trap to the incursions of Israeli troops. And Israel will be faced with a hard decision on how to respond. And the Lebanese will be convinced that all the shouting of relying on the State is totally unfounded and premature.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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