Director: Issa Touma

A True Word About Syria and a B&W Album

Almost no one in his brain Map has an idea where might the country of Syria be before the month of March 2011, I mean around the world. If I say it is on the south borders of Turkey; in the western Brain, it will be nowhere! If I say it is on the North East border of Israel everyone will know where Syria is.
Unfortunately nowadays because of the political situation in the country and the news, almost every person knows where it is.
One year ago I have tried to find in a Google search , how many pages there are about our leaders and I have found less than 5000 pages, but currently the number has jumped to 9,000 000 pages, but they are mostly about Blood only.

A bad publicity is a good publicity, and now everyone knows where is “bleeding” Syria!
Syria’s picture in International Media is: the Country that supports terrorism, it is also the country where the Opposition suffers and the Government puts it in jails…
It seems as there is not a brighter side of the story!
Between the years 2005 and 2007 I also had a lot of political problems with the regime, which at the time had a very good international cover … I had to fight to get the right to protect my work and my life … and also the freedom for my activity as an art curator, but all forget at that time about our works in Culture and how much we have achieved as an organization for a good cultural life in the Country.

At the time, international Media only focused on terror and the Opposition , we were trying to help our self and give a message of Art and Love … the only help we had was from some good western friends and some embassies in Damascus that were for us a good support .
Syria is a country like any other country, we have nice and bad people, we have a good opposition, but also a bad one! We have good politicians in the government and bad ones (some good politicians finally have helped me solve some problems with the regime year 2007 ).

We also have people who dream of the good life and a bright future, we have people who simply do not appreciate the government‘s work, but they surely love their country.

An Irish Friend said to me many months earlier, after we have talked for many times about the media and what they were posting about Syria and the reality, “we had this problem for a decade in Belfast, we worked hard to change the negative images of the city, when everyone around the world thought Irish people played with bombs and liked to kill each other!” He also said, “It is the role of the intellectuals to change the whole picture.”

As a Syrian citizen, I think last year experience will help the Syrian , I think its solution will be very helpful to all of us, to the Syrian Government that ho needs to refresh the entire system and to think about new and serious methods to develop the country and the Society that wears many masks which need to be removed, especially the mask of religion, and take practical steps to have a good political life and get the basic needs of life and Culture…

To western organizations, I mean mostly the Cultural ones, to changing the fake cultural views following 9/11 especially in Syria and Lebanon, that played games with the NGOs, and secretly or some time openly supported the friends who have the power in their hands, it was a kind of policy that was based on ethnics and religions, and not on real cultural development.

(I do not mean by this all Cultural organizations, a few was very good and trustworthy)
I will give an example: one of the biggest western Cultural organizations in Damascus, some 5 years ago, has refused to showcase any Artist of Arab origins, they only showcased Kurdish artists, which left some hate for the Kurdish from some Arab intellectuals, It was clear that it was politics and not cultural exchange…
In the end, I think we owe ourselves a big mirror, westerners and Syrians …we should be a good mirror, even if we may break at a certain time!
As Syrians we suffer a lot from the unfair Media coverage of the situation and local and international policies!

This album is made to give a real image of the real Syria, the one I love and not the one that some plan to have or make!
It also what makes Hundreds of Artists from more than 60 Countries attend our Festival and take part in its numerous activities for more than 15 years!

ISSA TOUMA