Statement by the congregation of Syrian Artists for Freedom
In the beginning, the corrupt security forces of the police state shot the unarmed
civilians, then claimed to start the movement of reform by killing thousands. This
murderous regime cannot resuscitate the bodies of murdered victims or bring the
carnage of bodies back together; nothing can restore a life lost except a brighter future
than prevents the loss of more lives.
Today, we open a channel to dialogue with the Syrian people and we open a dialogue
amongst us as a congregation to reach freedom. We all tried resisting through art and
preserving freedom of speech in these conditions where one can lose their life for that
right. Some of us were brought before the corrupt officers of regime intelligence, they
preached about poetry, music, cinema and theatre. Some of us remained silent others
nodded and remained enslaved, but some of us fought to awaken the rest and were
rewarded with the sympathy of the people, then went in isolation.
Our imagination, as originators, was caged for long years by corrupt institutes,
ministries, and syndicates by the police mentality. They abused the laws and
constitutions, and sanctified the loyalty to their police mentality; so corruption results
in more corruption. The word intellectual became a mockery and freedom a mental
sickness. As for the art of writing and research, it was subject to a barbarian attack in the
name of murder. Today, Syria is flooded with blood, and with hope for a day that reveals
the current struggle between two schools of thoughts; one that promotes revolutionary
art, freedom, music, dance, critical mind and beauty, and the other that promotes death
and hatred for freedom and life.
The killing machine that violates the freedom of speech by censorship and surveillance,
today, prevents the right of life when the lively citizens of Syria decided to express their
thoughts by demonstrating and holding strikes. The citizens continuously murdered and
tortured, and at the peak of this tragedy, the state institutions turned the schools and
hospitals to torture dungeons. As for intellectual institutes, they lost all their legitimacy
by participating in the silent observation of these atrocities. One theatre professor was
beat by electric cables and rods. In addition to filmmakers, artists, musicians, writers,
and journalists who were also assaulted. They got kidnapped, some had their fingers
broken, others were detained and death threatened without any response from these
very intellectual institutes. This loss of legitimacy pushed us, as artists and intellectuals,
to search for our humanity outside these institutes stained with innocent Syrian blood.
Today, we belong to freedom and creative, we support a people that create its freedom;
we support our humanity and freedom.
The Syrian people woke us up, and retained our stolen freedom. We may not be able
to bring our martyrs to life, but we can praise the life they given us by working hand in
hand with the Syrian revolution to build a new home; a home that does not assassinate
its citizens using unjust claims. If we were destined to be of diverse ethnicities and
sects, we belong to humanity and freedom as values. This will be the energy bringing
us together for a future democratic civil diverse Syria, where there is a separation of
authorities. A state that has fair elections and equal citizenship under a just constitution.
Syria cannot be limited to one party or one ideology or one name, we dream of a Syria
that we celebrate in a movie theatre with the name of Omar Amir Alay. The sanctity
of life and freedom, of every Syrian, is entrusted in the heart of every human. We, the
congregation of Syrian artists for freedom; declare today the beginning of our search for
a new legitimacy. We set the freedom of creativity and we preserve its independence, and we never negotiate over human rights.
*Translated by The Syrian Sun*
*This official announcement has held on January 9, 2012 at the Carthage festival
in Tunisia with scene writer Jebali Taoufik and Ezzeddine Gannon, and also
involved a crowd of Arab, African, European theatre personnalities and broadcast
on Al-Jazira and Hannibal channel. The declaration was given to the director
and the founder of the festival Wahid D. Essafi. The declaration is a foundation
document for «the congregation of Syrian Artists for Freedom» and was sign by 225
Syrian artists who support to the Syrian people and are asking the Syrian regime
to stop the repression against his own people.*