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Children of Syria

(20 Posts)
Wannabestepfordwife Wed 30-Jul-14 22:26:36

Have just caught up with "The Children of Syria" on Iplayer and was wondering if anyone else has seen it.

It's absolutely heartbreaking and the children's experiences are haunting.

Is their any future for Syria with the children being indoctrinated and desensitised to violence at such a young age.

Tensmumym Wed 30-Jul-14 23:00:58

Very good, heartbreaking programme.

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 30-Jul-14 23:19:32

I don't think I appreciated the full horror of the situation till watching it- I feel physically sick.

The children were so strong and their parents were amazing trying to give them some sort of normality while their living in a warzone

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 30-Jul-14 23:23:55

Apart from the man who said his son was replaceable I will never understand that mentality

zinher Thu 31-Jul-14 00:27:33

I saw a couple of clips on BBC. It is so sad. They must live in so much fear.

halfdrunkcoffee Thu 31-Jul-14 12:23:01

I've recorded it but haven't watched it yet.
Did anyone see Syrian School that was on BBC4 in 2009 or 2010? I wonder what has happened to all those people now.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 31-Jul-14 16:41:48

halfdrunk it's heartbreaking but brilliant journalism.

I still can't get one of the women queuing for aid out of my mind she was emotional and desperate to feed her children and some tool told her to have some shame- it seems humanity and compassion is dying there.

I have made a donation to UNICEF today and was wondering are there any charities sending books to the children they all seem so eager to learn and I want to help in some way

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 31-Jul-14 20:51:44

It was a very good documentary. I look at my daughters and think of their cousins who haven't been able to freely play outside for years. It breaks my heart sad

I do remember the Syrian School documentaries, it showed just how much the Assad regime pervaded public life.

As for the future of the country, everything is so complicated now. ISIS aren't fighting the regime, they are actually aiding the regime and fighting the rebels.

The regime is backed by Russia and Iran. The Free Syrian Army have dribs and drabs of support from elsewhere. They and those who have fled, want Assad to go and won't surrender until this happens. So everything is at a stalemate.

The Assad regime slogan is "Assad, or the country burns". They are getting their wish.

So many places I used to know in Damascus have been flattened. It is devastating.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 31-Jul-14 21:29:52

goshannegorilla what an unbearable situation for you and your family you must all be under a lot of strain my thoughts are with you all.

I was quite shocked by the strength of nationalistic feeling amongst the pro-Assad adults as I said up thread I can't believe the man who said his son is replaceable but Syria is not.

I really wish I could see and end in sight. It saddens me that the longer the war is going on the less people seem to be interested.

Syria came across as quite a sectarian country in the documentary has this always been the case GoshAnneGorilla?

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 01-Aug-14 00:47:33

In short, no.

To clarify, my connection to Syria is via my husband. He grew up in Damascus, his school was fairly mixed, he had a weekend job in a shoe shop owned by Christians, etc. There are lots of churches in Damascus and also a wide variety of ethnic groups, such as Kurds, Circassians, as well as a large number of refugees from Iraq.

However, he has always been anti-regime and like other anti-regime Syrians I've met, they've always been wary of Alawites, as Alawites are usually pro-regime.

Syrians, even when not in Syria, would always be extremely wary of talking about politics with other Syrians unless they knew they could be trusted. As if you said one wrong word in the wrong ears and you would go "behind the sun", so-called, because if the Mukhabarat (secret police) got you, that's where you might as well be.

That sounds melodramatic, but it is very sadly true. One of the worst things about Syria, is that every where you looked, there were pictures of Assad snr and jr, you could never forget who owned the country.

The Alawites are a very interesting group, it's a small sect, you can only be born an Alawite, you cannot convert, and they all originate from the coast.

When Hafez Assad began his ascent towards power, one of the first things he did was to get all the Alawites on his side. There is detailed writing about this elsewhere, but he removed/killed the Alawite religious leaders and in a sense, but himself in that role, hence he is revered almost to the point of worship by most Alawites.

There was such a cult of personality built around him, that part of the daily pledge made by schoolchildren was "Our blood and our soul to our eternal leader comrade Hafez Assad".

This interview with an actor who fled Syria gives are very good insight into how the regime manipulates people:

Yruapita Fri 01-Aug-14 03:43:28

I still cant get those haunting images of those beautiful children out of my head, who looked like they were sleeping, but had been gassed by Assad. I am so sickened by the 'leaders' waging war on children.

MorphineDreams Fri 01-Aug-14 03:47:33

When I saw the UN official break down.. it was awful.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 01-Aug-14 04:18:11

I still find it so hard to fathom what's happened.

For those wanting to know a bit more about how Syria was, this list by Robin Yassin-Kassab (an excellent Syrian-British writer) is an excellent start:

MorphineDreams Fri 01-Aug-14 04:27:22

This is a very naive thing to say, I know, but the uproar the UK and US showed in regards to Russia, yet we won't do much about what's going on here. I know there are a lot differences, I know there's a lot of things I don't understand: but still. How. How can this be happening.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 01-Aug-14 04:56:42

Because Assad has the backing of Iran, China and Russia, the latter two ensuring that the UN are toothless.

Western involvement didn't happen because of the risks: a proxy war, more lives lost in the ME, didn't outweigh any possible benefits to them.

And now of course, ISIS has been unleashed, which is the equivalent of throwing a vat of tar on top of a river of treacle.

I don't think it will stop until Assad goes, the people have lost so much already and to back down without him going means it is all for nothing.

The sad thing is, the Syrians knew what a monster they had for a president, that's why the initial protests asked for reform, they were too scared to ask for anything greater than that. However, even that wasn't tolerated by the regime and so we have the situation we are in now.

Backinthering Fri 01-Aug-14 19:31:16

GoshAnne I remember when the crises unfolded, I watched some of the coverage on Russia Today and they were completely dismissive of the reports of the Assad regime atrocities.

Wannabestepfordwife Fri 01-Aug-14 20:42:01

Thank you so much for the links goshannegorillla the secret police really reminded me of the Gestapo especially that some were school teachers- it's like Germans being too scared to talk about politics in front of their children in case they said something incriminating to their teacher.

The pro-regime adults on the programme definitely deferred to Assad like he was a god and they seemed to have unquestionable loyalty. It also struck me that only those in the refugee camp spoke out about Assad there must be such a climate of fear.

I'm in agreement that there will be no peace while Assad is in power. It frustrates me that the rise of IS and sectarianism is giving Assad a veneer of respectability in some publications the DM comments are always ver pro-Assad and people seem to be ignoring the desperate plight of the Syrian people

LadyLou30 Tue 05-Aug-14 20:47:47

I watched this on catch up as I'm interested to know what's going on. I work at a university and we used to have a big Syrian postgraduate programme. Many have disappeared from my friends list.

What struck me was the way the children spoke, they sounded so old. They had witnessed too much sadness. I was a
So very taken aback by the attitude that the mans son was replaceable and he'd basically be proud his son would be a martyr. Is that a common mentality?

Thanks for the links.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 07-Aug-14 22:57:10

This is an extremely good article on what is happening in Syria now, with regards to Assad and ISIS

His last paragraph mentions early intervention. While Libya is not stable (countries rarely are following the fall of dictatorships), I think if intervention to ensure the removal of Ghaddafi had not happened, it would be in any even worse state then Syria is now.

MerlinsUnderpants Fri 08-Aug-14 12:17:06

This documentary had me in tears. I am so angry at the uselessness of the international community. Yes by all means allow permanent members to veto war but no one should be allowed to veto investigations into human rights abuses, if you a member of the club or one of their mates you get to act with impunity and it makes a mockery of justice. I despair that despite all our history this still goes on, every child has the right to feel and be safe. I just wish I could do something, do anything to stop all this, I donate every month to MSF but it never feels enough.

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