Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The anniversary which ought not have been


Detail from Charlie Hebdo, October 12, 2011, No. 1008.
Written by Sylvie Coma, drawings by Catherine Meurisse.


Charlie Hebdo, October 12, 2011, No. 1008.
Written by Sylvie Coma, drawings by Catherine Meurisse.
If anyone should still be in doubt about the necessity of the Syrians to demand dignity five years ago today, the reaction from Assad then as now tells us the full story.

In fact, in reading the interview by Charlie Hebdo of Tarek Alghorani six months into the revolution (done anonymously since he was still in the country), I cannot but equate the Sednaya prison with that of the lack of right to define the terms of one's own life of the people outside of it too.

It abided to all aspects of their situation from deprivation (starving of food and all material needs) to being tortured at the merest hint of having a personal presence that caught the eye of the prison guards. The right to define any of this never belonged to the prisoners themselves. Certain well-calculated manouvers of the prison guards furthermore put the young prisoners in a situation in which they found themselves defending Islam and paved their way to join IS.

In 2008 it came to a prisoner revolt at the Sednaya prison to which the answer was abrupt and cruel, resulting in a massacre; denied by the authorities in spite of the pressure from the outside world.

A situation to be repeated a few years later when the revolt, its answer and the denial of it were mirrored on a national level.

Tarek himself found the cartoons accompanying the present interview utterly funny. The one heading the article could hardly be any more precise, playing with the idea of how a piece of propaganda would look declaring the modernity of the (over-crowded) prison with only 1/3 prisoner per cell. The lie and the truth behind it in the very same take is no small feat for a drawing.


A very special thank you goes to Tarek Alghorani, who send the file of the interview on the very day of the Charlie Hebdo-massacre.



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