Corfu, summer of 2011. Presentation and discussion about the Arab Spring.
For Diana El Jeiroudi, who together with her partner Orwa Nyrabia are the couple behind the Dox Box festival in Damascus, the uprising/revolution in Syria had been ”cooking” for the last decade – to be manifested/started on March 16. El Jeiroudi, who during the workshop days, together with Nyrabia, reported that two of their staff members had been arrested (they were released again after a couple of days), had asked a documentary maker about the situation right now for filmmaking.
The answer was: we just make bad films, we are only documenting. She showed clips from films by the master documentarian Omar Amiralay (who died early this year), and told that the authorities have now approved of the showing of three of his films, which until now had been banned by the regime.
Everyone has become a journalist in Syria now, El Jeiroudi said, reporting is done on mobile phones, h o m e m a d e cameras are being used … but whatever happens, Syria is another country today. Indeed it is, and the documentation continues day by day, where leading news media all over the world doing the same as us, trying to figure out what’s really happening, hoping that the massacres will stop – they go to social media like Facebook to get the latest developments documented.
Apart from the amazing documentation effort of Syrians on Facebook, I also visit the site of the Local Coordination Committees of Syria1 – with its texts and ”videos from Syria”. Shaky images, shouting, demonstrations, tanks in the streets, cameramen screaming out their despair.
Documentation from the Syrian revolution, necessary documentation that one day will be put into context, interpreted and conveyed by documentary filmmakers. So we can understand. Or can we?