I asked members of the audience to hold up signs reading STOP BOMBING HOSPITALS in Cinema 1 at the IFI after the discussion I chaired following the screening of FOR SAMA. Waad al-Kateab who made that compelling film had apparently done the same at a recent screening and it actually seemed the only authentic and valid protest one could make after watching her, Dr Hamza her husband and their baby daughter Sama being bombed relentlessly in a hospital by the Russian airforce and the Assad regime’s forces.
One expression of frustration from Waad on the sound track of her documentary ‘For Sama’ reminded me why Anne Daly and I made our film ‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’. She mentioned the hundreds of thousands who would have seen her film reports on Channel 4 from Aleppo and wondered why they did not seem to make any difference. Meanwhile Anne and I got fed up with people telling us they did not understand what is going on in Syria so we made what we saw as a very ambitious historical style documentary about the rise of the Assad family, the peaceful uprising in 2011 and struggle for freedom up to the fall of Aleppo to help people understand what is going. ‘For Sama’ on the other hand allowed us to experience what it felt like day after day to be bombed while trying to save lives. Remarkable they survived considering before the fall of Aleppo their hospitals was the last out of nine still functioning!
For Sama is so authentic it will qualify as prima facie evidence of crimes against humanity when eventually Assad and his henchmen face trial, though it may take a long time. A fact brought how repeatedly to us at the moment making a new documentary on that very theme: BRINGING ASSAD TO JUSTICE.
For us however what was truly traumatic about watching FOR SAMA was knowing the Russian airforce and the Syrian regime and its various militias with Iran are subjecting well over three million civilians in idlib to the same terror. Over a thousand civilians have been murdered recently including over three hundred children. Despite talk of cease fires the slaughter and the relentless bombing of hospitals continues.
Hopefully FOR SAMA will make more people wake up and feel the pain and terror facing defenceless families in Idlib. We know what is going on. We have no defence because silence equals complicity.
And if you want to find out more of the context please check out our ‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’.
Ronan L Tynan is Director of the multi award winning ‘Syrian – The Impossible Revolution’ and co-founder with Anne Daly of Esperanza Productions:
Web site: http://www.esperanza.ie