The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The sad solipsism of Syria's protestors

I tweeted this yesterday, but think it's worth a second look. If you have ever lived in a place like Syria, you know it can be a very isolated place — isolated from the rest of the world because of its restrictions on foreign visitors, its political isolation from the rest of the world, trade barriers that mean that certain consumer goods (and hence fashions) are absent, and of course warped by the personality cult and brutal dictatorship. This translates into a very Eastern Bloc feel to Syria, sometimes comically expressed in the very old-fashioned haircuts and fashion.

This video really highlights the isolation of the Syrians — because the situation is confusing, because most media have a tough time covering the conflict, because there is an "Arab Spring weariness" in much of the world, because the consequences of the uprising there are regionally daunting. What's so moving about this scene is the protestors' need to be noticed, for the world to take note, to have an audience for their chants and slogans.

From, which notes:

Demonstrators in Bab Qibli in Hama city are watching themselves live on Aljazeera channel on a big screen. The regime has banned media from entering Syria and cut the Internet off most of the Syrian cities. The only way to get access to the Internet is by using devices that connect directly to satellites as activists have done in this video in Hama.