The revolution in Syrian drama

Diana Moukalled
Diana Moukalled
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Shelling, massacres and fighting killed more than 2,000 Syrians during the first two weeks of Ramadan. It's the same tragedy the Syrians have drowned in since the beginning of the uprising.

But Syrian hardship is no longer an event. It's not even a number or a photo. Syrians now feel that there is a general detachment and less international concern towards their ordeal.

The ability to influence through drama is a weapon only present in the hands of the regime.

Diana Moukalled

It's now once again the season of Ramadan, and with popular TV drama series, Arab audiences are kept busy, giving the Syrians yet another reason to be confused.

The dramas have brought back an interest into Syrian reality. What's happening in Syria has been reflected in a few drama series.

Some of these series are directly financed by the regime and therefore clearly display its side of the story. Some, however, are financed by the private sector, displaying professional production and acting without taking a side in the conflict. This too serves the regime's interest.

In the TV series "We will return in a while," there's no revolution in Syria. The events in the series are a mere background for characters.

Parts of the script acted out by Durid Lahham, who supports the regime, repeatedly describe what's happening in Syria as a "crisis." It also includes a lot of sorrow over what's happening there and nostalgia and longing for the country to be a much better place.

Coffee shops

Some coffee shops in Syrian areas under the control of the regime were prevented from airing the series "Wilada Min al-Khasera" (Birth from the Waist) which is considered the most courageous series in reflecting the Syrian reality.
There's a lot of confusion too that will only be finalized during the last episodes of the series, although its path has begun to appear with every episode.

It's true that the series tackles security forces' and intelligence apparatuses' suppression, torture, detentions and arbitrariness - actions that the Syrians experienced over the past years in the most hideous of manners - but the series has an official permit from the Syrian authorities and most of those who work in the series publicly support the regime.

A picture of the revolution

Therefore, it's not strange when the series falls within the circle of demonizing the revolution considering that the regime and its mistakes are the best the Syrians can have.

The truth is, discussions on social networking websites reveal confusion and divisions over this year's Syrian drama which seems to have taken a different approach from that previously adopted.

But which is worse? A realistic drama which the Syrians are living? Or a realistic drama which they escape to in series?

There's no doubt that the drama series financed by the regime and attempting to wittily appeal to the audience's sentiment is the fruit of the regime's experience in addressing others - a skill mastered by the regime in the last ten years.

Therefore, according to this, there's a drama for the regime. The opposition has not confronted this by producing its own drama.

The ability to influence through drama is a weapon only present in the hands of the regime.

The paradox is that the regime succeeded in appearing on stations that are rivals of it while oppositional artists and stars are absent from this competition.

This will have an effect in producing a public opinion that does not believe in the opposition's cause. Stations that aired series which its producers succeeded to exploit their cause to serve the executioner have contributed to this effect.

Once again, the regime succeeds in infiltrating the public opinion through the loose waist of drama.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 29, 2013


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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