The Syrian Revolt: Grassroots Organizing and Everyday Resistance

10 mars 2015 | معتمد Other, Solidarity, Revolution, Syria


    Photo credit Ali Mustafa

Lecture by Yasser Munif & the “Uprising and Uprooted” photo exhibit

March 20, 2015
Café L’Artère, 7000 Av du Parc (Metro Parc or bus 80)
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After showings at Kahwa Café (Summer 2014) and Café Aquin (Fall 2014), the photo exhibition “Uprising and Uprooted: refugees in the Syrian struggle in photo and image”, is moving to Café L’Artère for a two-month showing commencing 1 March. Presented by Tadamon!, the exhibit’s third Montreal run will include a feature event: a presentation by Yasser Munif, Assistant Professor in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College, and co-founder of the Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution on “The Syrian Revolt: Grassroots Organizing and Everyday Resistance” with special guest Jessica Attar Adam, Montreal photogprapher and filmmaker who will speak about her photographic work on northern Syria, on display as part of the exhibit.

On the photo exhibit:
The popular uprising in Syria for liberation and dignity that broke out in March 2011, has, since the beginning, been met with a brutal regime response that has known no limits. The consequences of the Syrian regime’s response have been devastating: destruction of homes, urban neighbourhoods and infrastructure; deepening social divisions that have taken the form of sometimes violent, armed confrontation; deaths of civilians reaching over 200,000 persons; widening fear distrust and vulnerability throughout the social fabric; countless injured; the uprooting of millions. In the face, and in the aftermath, of regime bombardment, siege, atrocity and aggression, millions have taken flight and sought refuge within Syria, in neighbouring states and in states beyond the region.

This flight from violence has included residents of the Yarmuk refugee camp in south-west Damascus most of whom – until 2012 – were Palestinian refugees whose original dispossession resulted from the Zionist colonization of Palestine culminating in the 1948 Nakba. The number of persons who have fled Yarmuk since 2013 is estimated to exceed 500,000 including the camp’s long-time Palestinian residents and the Syrians who, since 2011, had sought refuge there following outbreaks of fighting in nearby areas. The 18,000 or so residents who remain in Yarmuk face circumstances of grave humanitarian need – malnutrition, illness, lack of water, starvation – as a result of a regime-imposed
blockade on the area aimed at punishing opposition forces and their sympathizers in the camp.

The uprooting of millions in the context of the Syrian revolutionary struggle constitutes a graphic and all too vivid instance of the devastation that can result for people from the actions of state and non-state actors in a world of national borders, territorial-state claims, colonial domination and exclusionary national projects.
“Uprising and Uprooted” tells some of the story of the refugee crisis that has resulted from the actions of a state bent on silencing its own citizens’ calls for liberation from oppressive, authoritarian rule and on quashing popular demands for conditions of justice, respect, equality and dignity.

The photos of the exhibition show Syrian refugees from inside Syria, Lebanon and Yarmuk refugee camp.

About the photos of the exhibition:

Photos from inside Syria by Ali Mustafa

Ali was a Toronto-based freelance photojournalist, activist and writer. His work and politics spanned from local organizing in Toronto to working with the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil, and later to freelancing as a photojournalist in Palestine, Egypt, and Syria. Ali was killed along with seven others on March 9th, 2014 in Aleppo, Syria in an aerial bombing carried out by the Assad government. He had returned to Syria to continue his work exposing the depths of a human tragedy that he believed the rest of the world could no longer afford to ignore.

Photos from Yarmuk refugee camp by Niraz Saeid and Rami al Sayyed
Niraz Saeid was born in Yarmouk Camp in 1991. He has worked in photography for eight years and both studied and taught the medium. He returned to the camp one week after the crisis started and he remains there to this day. His photographs try to capture the people of the camp: their daily lives, reality, memories, and dreams. He provides an intimate portrayal of the hardship and humanity in Yarmouk. His message is that what makes the camp, is the people who live there.

Thirty-year-old Rami Al-Sayyed is one of those who remain in Yarmouk. A talented photographer, he has trained his lens on the suffering of those most vulnerable: the children of Yarmouk. Seventeen of these photographs were exhibited on Twitter and Instagram as an on line exhibition, ‘Cry from the Heart: The Children of Yarmouk’.

Yarmouk was once the vibrant, bustling heart of the Palestine refugee community in Syria, home to over 160,000 Palestinians. Now, Yarmouk is devastated, its name a byword for the suffering of Palestinian and Syrian civilians caught in conflict. The camp was overwhelmed by fighting in December 2012; a months-long siege began in July 2013; and as the fourth year of conflict begins, about 20,000 civilians, the majority Palestine refugees remain – deprived of food and medicine, their clinics and schools closed, their streets and buildings damaged, their access to the outside world largely cut off.

Photos from Lebanon by Umama Hamido
Umama Hamido is a Lebanese artist and photographer, born in Beirut in 1987. During the beginning of the Syrian revolution, Umama was based in Beirut, the most affected city from the Syrian crisis. She felt bombarded by the contradictions and different positions towards the Syrian crisis. Having also Syrian roots, she decided to visit the North of of Beqaa, where the most affected and vulnerable refugees are based. She worked with Syrian refugees trying to understand their needs and ambitions. These photos were taken in Ersel, a village on the Syrian border with Lebanon, which has a particular case regarding the hostile of the big mass of Syrian refugees. Her photos are the result of a living experience with Syrian refugees where she was able to discover charming aspect that goes beyond suffering.

Photos of the city of Aleppo and of Atmeh camp in northern Syria by Jessica Attar Adam
Jessica Attar Adam is a Montreal-based photojournalist who has covered social justice protests since 2011 for 99Media. Jessica decided to travel to Syria, her native country, in 2013 to cover the conflict that has now lasted more than three years and to film the horrors suffered by the Syrian people under the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Through striking images and testimonies of activists, she tells the story of the terrible tragedy of the Syrian people in the short film “A Syrian Story“. During her time in Syria in 2013 she also documented conditions at Atmeh camp in northern Syria, a place of refuge for those uprooted in the Syrian struggle for freedom and dignity.

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