Last week, Oslo Documentary Cinema held an exhibition and debate at the Nobel Peace Center for the film 50 Feet From Syria. During this event, panelists Kathrine Raadim, Niels Butenschøn, and Mads Harlem amongst others, took the time out to discuss the dynamics of the film, while addressing key issues surrounding the Syrian war.
Not only is 50 Feet From Syria still relevant today, but the underlying factors that are apparent throughout the film still reign true for the people of Syria, and all that they have to endure during this crucial time in modern history.
One central theme that was prevalent throughout the event was “Peace vs. Justice” surrounding the Syrian War and how to come up with a proper solution. The argument here is that it is more important to stop the violence in Syria than to punish President Bashar al-Assad. A possible peace solution thus faces a huge dilemma: Is sustainable peace with Assad as part of the solution possible?
And though this theme is a logical exercise given the scale of suffering continuing in Syria to this day, ultimately it is a dangerous contingency to entertain. If peace is pursued without removing Assad from power in Syria it would fail to hold accountable a regime that has systematically massacred untold thousands of innocent civilians through indiscriminate bombings of non-military targets and the continued and unlawful use of chemical weapons against civilians on a consistent basis. These war crimes must be recognized for the crimes against humanity that they are and the Assad regime held accountable within the global community.
Throughout the evening, guest speakers and audience members debated on this central theme while reflecting on the impact of 50 Feet From Syria, and how the film depicted the war in such a way, that we now feel compelled to seek a resolution.
50 Feet From Syria is still a dangerous and powerful film about the Syrian-American surgeon Hisham Bismar who takes a leave from work to travel to a hospital on the border between Turkey and Syria.
This film continues to give us a picture of chaos and suffering in Syria, while also meeting other people who are doing what they can to help the victims of one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern history.
To learn more about the Syrian war or to see 50 Feet From Syria visit: 50feetfromsyria.com