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タグアーカイブ Demanding Dignity

Voices from Syria − What We Want is Freedom: A Member of White Helmets from Aleppo

On 23rd of December 2016, an event “Syria, The Lives living in-between War and Love: Film Screening of Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait and Panel Talks with Experts” was held in Tokyo.
A member of White Helmets, Mr. Ismail Alabdullah, expressed his feeling, thoughts, and hopes via Skype from Aleppo which was JUST fallen by the government forces. The message explains how the military mission carried by the troops in Eastern Aleppo was inhumane and innocent civilians were killed. And still, numerous civilians are facing terrible suffering today.
The message was towards people in Japan. However, I believe his words will be a wake-up call for every one of us in today’s world somehow.

Here is the whole description of the message delivered by Mr. Alabdullah

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I am now on the western side of Aleppo. We were forcibly displaced to the western side of Aleppo from the eastern side after being bombed intensively and the 15-days of siege that followed. The situation was indescribable. Because people were suffering from hunger and lack of medicines, hospitals and humanitarian organizations: nothing was there to help wounded people. The siege of Aleppo started three months ago. There are still people staying in the blockade who cannot move, such as elder adults, orphans, disabled persons, and few soldiers of Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Besides this desperate situation, the government side forces have used chemical weapons which are internationally prohibited. These bombardments had been destroying all types of buildings to make it impossible for people to live. All sorts of buildings were targeted including buildings that offered basic-needs for people under the siege; nothing left at the end. The eastern side of Aleppo became an absolute place where nobody can live, an absolute place where even animals cannot live because of explosive sounds.
I myself had been locked in the buildings more than 24 hours; I had to move from premises to premises through holes we made on the walls to avoid the airstrikes. I witnessed the snipers of the regime shooting and killing civilians and numerous people under the mountain of rubble. It was so very intensive bombings. I also work as a journalist, but even those journalists could not take any photos or record any videos because of the intense situation. We left more than 20 dead people under the rubble including elder people because the airstrike had not stopped at all.

I warned the media from the first day of the siege that this situation, which I explained now, would inevitably happen; however, nobody listened and reacted.

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Next, I would like to explain the food situation in Aleppo. Currently (Dec. 2016), only 5 pieces of bread (Markook: flat type of bread) for 5 people in 2 days (only half a piece of bread per person a day) are delivered. Distribution is not organized well. The accurate number of family members would not be considered, for example. Thus, no matter a family has 7 or 10 or 15, it is out of concern in this horrifying situation.
Also, the unsanitary water-conditions is a severe issue. We drink well water without any purification, because, there is no proper gas to boil and electricity available for six months. We cannot boil the well water or use electric filter devices. Under this condition, the number of diseases has risen due to dirking unhygienic water.
Furthermore, with a shortage of medical facilities added to the severe food-condition, it has strengthened the level of catastrophe in Aleppo. All seven hospitals including children’s hospitals were wholly destroyed. Therefore, such inhumane time has continued where we cannot help wounds at all.

What is going on Syria, the catastrophe, is a result of the decision we made, and the reaction of the regime, and indifference of international community. The revolution demanded freedom and dignity to be human in 2011. Every person in the world and the United Nations know this frightful situation, and though they also know the fact that numerous people are killed every single day, they just count numbers. Each government is sitting and surrounding Russia and China in conference rooms and both of which continuously exercise the power of veto on the Security Council. The function of the international society has completely suspended. Their hands are in the blood of killed people and children of Syria.

I would like to ask you all, how long this massacre will be going on? I would like to call for people in Japan, and especially the Japanese government to take responsibilities on this issue more than any other states. Particularly, prosecutions of war criminals such as the Assad regime and Russian side. Indeed, the Assad regime which killed tens of hundreds of civilians who were participating in peaceful demonstrations must be prosecuted.

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Lastly, I would like to insist that we are not demanding food or money, but we are just requesting freedom. Freedom: talking what we think without fear, like what I and also you do here. We want freedom.
We want to see Syria where we can enjoy the right of freedom of expression like in Japan. As Japan did in the past, we want to end this war, and we want to rebuild Syria one day not so far in the future.

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Based on a speech delivered by Mr. Alabdullah on 23rd December 2016
Translated by  Yasser Jamal Al Deen and Icchiku Yamada
Edited by Icchiku Yamada and Hiroaki Matsushita

 

The Actual Speech is on Youtube: Click Here

【Held on 14 Jan 2016】Stand with Syria Now: Film Screening of “Return To Homs” and Open-Discussion.​

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As you know, the conflict in Syria has escalated more and more. There is no day we don’t hear about Syria. While the internationalized military intervention as a proxy war has been drawing many people’s attention, the lives living in Syria are not focused enough.
Four years have passed, 4 million people are displaced as refugees and 7.6 million people are internally displaced, 200 thousand people lost their lives. We should never forget that each one of them is a human being with dignity, each one of them has precious lives and Syria is a dear home for all of them.

Under this circumstance, 14th January 2016, we are going to organize an event for Syria at Rikkyo University, Tokyo JAPAN. “Stand with Syria Now: Film Screening of Return To Homs and Open-Discussion”

I met this documentary film “Return To Homs” by Talal Derki and has become knowing the fact that there is a young generation of Syria fighting for their home. Honestly writing, this is the best and most fantastic documentary film for me which brought tears to my eyes. I want more people to see this film, and reconsider Syria…
Syria is geographically and psychologically far away from Japan. Thus, this cannot be a reason to ignore what is going on people of Syria.

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What can we do now…? “Stand with Syria” It is the aim of this event, and it is one of the ways to light up their situation; the story of the individuals, not of the numbers.

On the day of the event, we are going to invite Syrian film director Mr. Talal Derki who directed the film via Skype and to have an open Q&A session. I believe this will be a rare and exceptional opportunity to deepen our understanding of the situation in Syria from “human-perspective” which we can be shared thoughts and experiences of Mr. Derki who are standing with the youth of Syria from the begging of the Revolution.

We are looking forward seeing all of you, especially Japanese students since this film amazingly describes the struggles of Syrian youth. That is why this event will be held at a university.
Reservation is not required, please come to the venue below directly.


***Details of the event

【Date】 6:20 pm- 9 pm, 14th (Thurs.) January 2016
【Venue】 Room 7102, building 7 at Rikkyo University (Ikebukuro Campus)
⇨Campus Map
https://www.rikkyo.ac.jp/access/ikebukuro/campusmap/
【Entrance】 FREE
【Capacity】Around 120
【Program】
18:20 Opening Remarks:
Masako Ishii, Professor of Department of Intercultural Communication of Rikkyo University
Icchiku Yamada, 3rd year Student at Department of Intercultural Communication of Rikkyo University
18:30 Film Screening Return To Homs
20:00 Break
20:10 Commentary of the film by Prof. Masako Ishii
20:20 Discussion: Report on Syria by Icchiku Yamada
20:40 Open Dialog Session: Q&A with Mr. Talal Derki (via Skype)
21:00 Closing Remarks: Icchiku Yamada
【Links】
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1548942552062359/
Rikkyo University Website: http://www.rikkyo.ac.jp/events/2016/01/17188/

【Return To Homs Details】
Director: Talal Derki
Country: Syria | Germany
Language: Arabic
Filming Locations: Homs, Syria
Runtime: 94 min
Production Co: Proaction Film, Ventana Film- und Fernsehproduktion
Known as: The Return to Homs
Distribution Company in Japan: United People
Story:
Filmed over three years in Homs, accompanying two outstanding young men Basset and Ossama from the time they were only dreaming of freedom to the time when they are forced to change course. Return To Homs focus the Group’s transformation and struggles, is a heart-stopping, often wrenching study of the brutal war President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has waged against the Syrian people — a battle fought mostly out of camera range that has produced epic heroism and tragedy.
Basset, the 19 years old national football team goalkeeper, who became an outspoken demonstration leader in the city, then an icon revolution singer, till he becomes a fighter… a militia leader. 24-year-old-Ossama renowned citizen journalist, cynical pacifist… as his views are forced to change until army secret service detains him. It is the story of a city, of which the world has heard a lot, but never really got closer than news, never really had the chance to experience how a war erupted. (Via IMDb and POV)
Winner of Sundance’s 2014 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary.
Laurel Winner – Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2014
Laurel Winner – Grand Prix du Festival, FIFDH 2014
Laurel Official Selection – Hot Docs, 2014
Laurel Opening Film – IDFA 2013

それでも DVD

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAqw-IuL3Ys

【Pamphlet】

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By Icchiku Yamada