In March 2011, radio host Obaidah Zytoon and friends joined the street protests against the oppressive regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Knowing the Arab Spring would change their country forever, this group of artists and activists began filming their lives and the events around them.
The regime’s violent response spiralled the country into a bloody civil war. The conflict has killed more than 400,000 people, wounded almost 2 million, and forced more than 11 million people to flee their homes, more than half Syria’s pre-war population.
The War Show it is definitely a unique view into what actually happened inside Syria and what is still happening. The documentary is based on hours of footage Obaidah and friends shot between 2011 and 2013 within the bigger context of the Syrian regime’s oppression, exposing the war crimes, it has committed and exploring the fate of millions of people affected by the conflict. Whether they are refugees in exile, or children and adults still struggling for survival inside the country.
Obaidah and her friends represent that large group of Syrians we rarely get to see in the media. “When we see news footage from Syria it is almost always the most dramatic scenes, the battles that we are presented with”, says Obaidah to the press. It is not only the Western media’s need for drama that it feeds into, but a general need for drama that feeds into social media as well. It helps increase violence inside Syria. "Our film criticizes this phenomenon and offers a different way of seeing, which is focused on the moments in between the battles and on the encounters with people that somehow are affected by them."
According to the co-director Andreas Dalsgaard, the biggest misunderstanding in the Western World in regards to the conflict and war in Syria is that it is about religion first and foremost. “Religion is just the way to get people to follow. The war is about money and it is a conflict that has roots way back in history. I feel sorry for Europe because I believe it is going to get worse. What we have seen so far in terms of terrorism is just the beginning. Any kind of liberal way of life is a target for others that don’t agree with the liberal lifestyle that Europe represents”.
It feels like the directors know the situation in Syria is going to get worse and the violence will be even more spread, because of that The War Show is a necessary movie. “We don’t see this war ending. We don’t believe in refugee camps as the only way for us to survive. Also, refugees are facing huge integration issues in Europe where they’re treated like inferior beings. We want the world to open their eyes. Three-hundred thousand people are kept in prison in Syria or have disappeared.
The world has to stand up and demand they be released and see to it that this is no longer happening. People must recognize that we all share a big responsibility in terms of this huge crisis with refugees and war, and act on the fact that Syria is a horrible tragedy of historic proportions. We hope that the film can make outsiders understand why people are fleeing in small boats”.
Photo: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images