Cries From Syria offers a raw and honest glance into the current and past state of Syria. Graphic is a word that certainly comes to mind throughout the documentary. Scenes are difficult to stomach and real. These are the images that Syrian citizens see every single day in Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and all over the country. It is a privilege to be able to call these images graphic and not part of a daily reality.
Oscar-nominated Director Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom) offered some insight into his world as a documentarian before a private screening earlier this week at Atlantic Plumbing. He said, “As westerners, we are in darkness.” A majority of the film is shot from a Syrian perspective. It relies on footage shot by activists, reporters, journalists, and revolutionaries from all over Syria, with no scenes recreations.
Though the documentary was full of immense sadness and loss, the ending satisfies a feeling of hope that glimmers. One of the revolutionaries looks at the camera and says, “We are only trying to be free like you.”
After the screening, Afineevsky was joined by Michael Isikoff, former NBC reporter and current chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. Afineevsky and Isikoff were asked about the struggles in covering a story of this magnitude and what did not make the final cut. Isikoff discussed his struggles of interviewing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and remaining poised and neutral despite knowing the atrocities that Assad has inflicted on his own people. According to the duo, fake news has also made covering stories such as this much more difficult. Falsified or edited images and video often circulate making it difficult to extract the truth.
The film presents a statistic that claimed that the crimes committed by ISIS against Syrian civilians have been equal to only two percent of the crimes committed by the President Bashar Al-Assad’s Regime. The director told me that ISIS is largely controlled by Assad, which allows the Regime to use ISIS as a scapegoat for the larger percentage of terrorism inflicted by the regime itself.
Afineevsky says the film is meant to be a call to action. You can visit the documentary site here to donate, contact government officials, and advocate for the freedom of Syrian citizens. The film is now streaming on HBO.