Cinema Politica’s Oct. 4 screening, The Suffering Grasses, is an educative and insightful film that reveals the social and political circumstances that Syrian civilians face on a day-to-day basis. This is not the best film to watch to become informed on the source of Syrian conflicts (which can date back decades), but it is an important film to watch in order understand the effects of this ongoing strife.
This documentary takes us to the beginning of the civil unrest which began in 2011, when Syrians took to the streets to protest President al-Assad’s policies and undemocratic governance. In reaction to these protests, President al-Assad sent the Syrian Army to control and disperse the protesters. The problem however, was that the Syrian Army used intimidation and gunfire to disperse crowds, which led to many civilian deaths.
A lawyer interviewed in the film explained that for every innocent killed, a new martyr was born in reaction, ready to die for redemption and freedom. As a result, rebellion groups such as the Farooq Battalion and the Free Syrian Army formed with the purpose of serving and protecting the protesters.
Over the course of 2012, with each day bringing new conflict and further political unrest, many Syrians have had no choice but to flee the country altogether, seeking refuge in Turkey or other neighboring countries. In situations where leaving was not a option, Syrians have sold their homes and valuables in exchange for weapons. One woman stated that owning a weapon was even more important than gold, even though ownership of a weapon was enough justification for the Syrian Army to put the owner to death.
The common thread that seems to link all those interviewed for this documentary, is their disdain for their government and their desire for freedom. And while a documentary will help spread their message to the rest of the world, people are still wary of the media.
The Suffering Grasses is brought to us by Cinema Politica in collaboration with the Syrian Student Society. Panel discussions are slated to follow the film. Premieres Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at 1455 de Maisonneuve W. Room H-110. Admission is by donation. For more information, visit cinemapolitica.com/concordia.