Opnieuw een mooi interview met Ahmad Kadour van Alwan FM, de radiozender in Saraqeb die IKV Pax Christi steunt via Adopt a Revolution. Ook komt Zeitoun & Zeitouneh aan bod, een tijdschrift dat kinderen educatief vermaak biedt nu er geen school is en geen electriciteit om TV te kijken. Kadour: “Ons radiostation biedt nieuws en publieke opinieprogrammas met een focus op maatschappelijke onderwerpen. Met een boodschap van liefde en tolerantie wil Alwan FM bijdragen aan een nieuw Syrie”. Lees hier het hele artikel (Engels):
Syria’s real revolution
October 6, 2013
While the world counts Islamist brigades and barrels of sarin, a new Syria is already being built. Without international support or recognition, groups of volunteers in liberated Syrian provinces have taken the initiative to create a new Syrian society. As one of them, a young man named Ahmed Kadour, told NOW, “We’re working to have a real revolution.”
Kadour works with Alwan FM, a six-month-old radio station that, in his words, “works to build a nation in line with the mosaic of Syria, without ignoring any component of it.” The station broadcasts news and public opinion programs with a focus on social issues like women and children’s rights. Relaying a message of love and tolerance, Alwan aims to shape understandings of civil society and to contribute to the new Syria.
So does Zayton & Zaytonah, a bimonthly children’s magazine put together by a team of volunteers in Saraqeb, Idlib. Hakim Ramadan, one of the magazine’s creators, told NOW that with schools shut and educational television programming inaccessible because of power cuts, Zayton & Zaytonah is playing an essential civic role. Pages on history, science, Arabic script, and English are sprinkled with activity pages where children can draw, write, and create. “A culture of violence began to replace the culture of school books,” Ramadan told NOW. “So the magazine became an educational, cultural, and entertaining alternative.”
Civil society organizations everywhere do challenging work, but revolution-era Syrian groups encounter remarkable difficulties. Continuous shelling and long, unpredicted power cuts are the circumstances of an average working day. Insufficient funds are another common restriction: Zayton & Zaytonah has finally bought its own printer, but still doesn’t have the capacity to print enough magazines to reach its intended audience. “We rely on sending the file to other regions, which then print it themselves,” Ramadan told NOW. Then, there are the truly exceptional challenges: Kadour worries that the growing presence in Idlib of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an al-Qaeda affiliate, will affect Alwan’s ability to operate freely.
“The situation is difficult; I won’t lie to you. Hope has been lost,” Kadour said, but he’s determined to get it back through Alwan. “With music, with our comedy programs, we create hope.”
Ramadan told NOW that in these difficult times, Zayton & Zaytonah’s audience keeps their team going. “The kids are the reason we continue, since they themselves continue in spite of the circumstances.”
Despite the difficulties of operating within Syrian territory, being home-grown affords the organizations legitimacy. “We work from the inside, our team is inside, and we broadcast from inside,” Kadour told NOW. “This got us a lot of popularity, because people don’t like anyone working from the outside.” He described the importance of building trust with Alwan’s audience: the more trust the station is able to build with its listeners, the more challenging issues it dares to tackle on air.
Audience participation has proved key for both Alwan and Zayton & Zaytonah. Alwan’s listeners can call in during public opinion programs to talk about the latest political or relief developments in their regions. Highlighting the station’s focus on creating new lines of communication, Kadour described a program through which relief organizations working in Syrian towns are on air, live, with residents of those same areas to discuss the efficiency of humanitarian efforts. “It’s about accountability, so they can provide the best results,” Kadour told NOW. Accessibility is huge, too. Alwan’s team chose radio as its medium – instead of television, for example – because of how accessible it is for listeners, and its broadcasters speak simply and colloquially.
A similar philosophy permeates Zayton & Zaytonah’s work, which Ramadan described as “a magazine printed by kids, more than it is printed for kids.” Children can contribute articles and drawings about their aspirations, feelings, and dreams, providing a window into the emotional and psychological state of a young generation as it witnesses war.
Such organic initiatives can be found throughout Syrian territory. In northern Syria, a group of activists joined forces to establish the Jasmine Baladi Studio, where Syrian children use art and sport as therapy to overcome the psychological effects of war. In every province, young Syrians staff media centers that not only broadcast political and military developments; they also advocate for increased freedom of expression, like the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, and produce documentaries on Syria’s revolution, like Aleppo’s Rouh Media Project.
From humble beginnings, these initiatives are shaping Syria’s future. A mere six months ago, Alwan was giving out solar power radios and broadcasting from a moving van. Zayton & Zaytonah was a four-page magazine in February, and it’s now regularly twenty pages. Each of these organizations emanates with hope, determination, and a beautiful vision for a future Syria.
Oorspronkelijk verschenen op Now https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/reportsfeatures/syrias-real-revolution