A cigarette, and my anti-aircraft camera
That day, just after noon, as I was on my way to the cigarette stall (a small table, chairs, a few packs of cigarette of two or three brands, all of them open because they are sold singly) the heavens rang. It was the whistling again, the sound that had begun to play on my nerves, the huge hit of adrenalin freezing everything, even time. The sound of an aircraft, which you hear when you step outside, or more precisely, when you step outside and realize, instinctively, that you are directly inside the target zone.
In films, time stops at such... more
Article about "our terrible country" in the Artforum by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie
IN THE SUMMER OF 2013, the Syrian writer Yassin al-Haj Saleh took a dangerous journey from the rebel-held city of Douma to his hometown of Raqqa, now the headquarters of the so-called Islamic State, across the border to southern Turkey and on to Istanbul. One of the foremost intellectuals of his generation and widely considered the sage of the Syrian revolution (hakim al-thawra), Haj Saleh had been in hiding for two years. When he won a Prince Claus Award in 2012, he delivered his acceptance speech—an eloquent response to the twinned questions: why revolt and why write—from an undisclosed location in Damascus. “I... more
The lady with the blue scarf
A year has passed since the kidnapping of Razan Zeytouneh, Samira al Khalil, Wael Hamadeh and Nazem Hamadi From this office.
Till this day, the scarf of Razan remains untouched and in the wait.
Till this day, the identity of the perpetrators remains an open secret.
Syria, “Our terrible country” and our disappointment with the West, by Graham Douglas
The well-known Syrian writer and intellectual Yassin Haj Saleh left his home in Douma, met up with two film-maker friends in Raqqa, and all three continued to Turkey, filming their journey as they went. Yassin’s wife Samira remained behind, until Yassin could return for her – she has since been abducted.
Ziad Homsi has known Yassin since Yassin moved to Douma, and together with his friend Mohammed Ali Atassi, the two film-makers accompanied Yassin on this journey, searching for a safe route by which to return for Samira.
Yassin al Haj Saleh is a prominent intellectual and dissident, who was imprisoned... more
About Bidayyat's films production on "Voice of America" by Heather Murdock
Syrian filmmakers are touring European film festivals this week, screening "Our Terrible Country," a film that explores an intergenerational friendship amid kidnappings, war and exile.
In this documentary, a young man named Ziad laughs with his white-haired companion, Yassin. They are in Turkey, having fled Syria after Ziad was captured and tortured by Islamic State militants. Yassin is in exile, fearing both the government and the Islamic State.
The film is not about what happened in the past, said its director, Ali Atassi. It was happening as they were shooting.
"I did stop shooting when Ziad was arrested by the Islamic State," Atassi... more
I bear the camera like a shield: No one escapes the massacre, save the dead
I still remember—way back in the mists of the distant past—that warm feeling when I first picked up a camera. As though I was experiencing a prophecy that one day I would use this instrument until I wore it away to nothing. Back then I carried it like a sceptre; today I bear the camera like a shield. Today, I remember the first time I literally did this—bore it like a shield. I’ve forgotten many dates and events, but that day—June 26, 2012—stays engraved in my memory. At the end of a long and tiring day my feet led me,... more