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Syria’s ‘beauty’ on show in Paris photo exhibition

Bernard de Mones is exhibiting a series of photos in Paris as part of an initiative to raise money and awareness for Syria

Rajia Aboulkheir

Published: Updated:

As policy-makers seem to be focused on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the expense of the plight of Syrian people, a French photographer has decided to draw attention to the war-torn country again.

Bernard de Mones is currently exhibiting a series of photos in the French capital as part of an initiative to raise money and awareness for the devastated country.

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Mones’ exhibition, called “Syrie D’Hier” or “Yesterday’s Syria,” runs from Feb. 14th until March 3rd and is organized by Amnesty International des “Hauts de Bièvre” for AAVS, a French NGO who's objective is to provide medical aid to the victims of the civil war in Syria.

“I wanted to give the Syrian conflict its importance again and bring a little attention to the Syrian struggle rather than ISIS’ inhumanities,” Mones told Al Arabiya News.

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“Western media seems preoccupied with Daesh” the artist said, using the Arabic name of the extremist group.

“They only speak about Daesh and portray images of black flags, executions and blood,” Mones said. “They don’t pay attention to the people of Syria, these millions of people who try to survive every day in the war-torn country.”

Almost four years have gone by since the armed conflict broke out in Syria, causing more than six million people to live in besieged areas or face internal displacement, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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The war saw more than 210,060 - nearly half of them civilians - killed and over three million people displaced to neighboring countries and beyond.

Through his artwork, the photographer did not only want to grab Western media attention but also show Western societies the “beauty” of the country.

“I first came to Syria in 1969. I fell in love with this country,” he said, adding that after retiring he left Paris and moved to Syria in 2009 before having to leave when the revolution started.

“I needed to show people in the West how marvelous this country is and the beauty of it,” he said, adding that before the Arab Spring “some people did not even know where Syria was on the map.”

Mones added that through his work he defends “the liberty and dignity” of the country.

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From Paris to Syria

Mones does not only help Syrians by presenting art in the French capital but also by participating in humanitarian work in Syrian cities.

“In 2013, I took part in two different expedition to northern Syria organized by Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations (UOSSM) to bring medical supplies to people in need,” he said.

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UOSSM aims to help develop hospitals, aid physicians and provide medical supplies inside Syria.

“During these two trips, I took lots of pictures of the country,” he added.