AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability. Transcribed and printed with permission. Listen to it in its entirety:
On 2 May 2015, host Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) spoke with activist Salma Kahale about the Syrian revolution—using that very term, in fact, which has so shamefully disappeared from many of our vocabularies when we talk about Syria.
As the conflict entered its fifth year two months ago, we posted on our Facebook page a compendium of articles—including several from our own archives—by activists who persist in using the word. These were our thoughts at the time:
It isn’t the Syrian Revolution that failed, we have failed. Failed to inform ourselves, to share the importance of the continuing Syrian Revolution and to stand in solidarity with it. One day we will recognize the legacy of a struggle for justice, freedom and self-determination that has very few equals throughout history. The heroes of the Syrian Revolution are well and alive and remain forever an inspiration for courage and resistance and humanity.
Today we salute all of those who struggle for freedom and justice and remember the 15 arrested schoolboys of Daraa who on March 6th 2011, inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, sprayed the following words on the walls of their town and brought Spring to Syria.
“As-Shaab / Yoreed / Eskaat el nizam!”
(“The people want to topple the regime”)
With this in mind, we have also interspersed in this interview a small selection of photographs by the Damascus-born journalist Rami Jarrah, whose Facebook and Instagram feeds are must-follows, as is the independent media organization he co-founded in Syria, ANA Press. He has recently been making stunning portraits of children in Aleppo, and even as his photographs have been attracting more and more attention, he has been unfailingly generous and kind in granting permission to use his work. Captions are also his.
Long Live the Syrian Revolution!
Chuck Mertz: There is a peace movement in Syria. A new coalition, involving tens of thousands of activists and dozens of organizations, has a plan to stop the bloodshed there.
AntiNote: Freelance photographer Alexander Belenkiy posted these photographs* on his livejournal this month, after a trip to Sochi. This is the ghost town he encountered there, only six months after the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Alexander points out in his own commentary that the Olympic Village is not completely abandoned; indeed he took care to include photographs of people there. Ultimately this deepens the images’ chill by providing a sense of scale. Hearing that the Sochi Olympics were a $50 billion waste is somewhat stultifying; seeing the vastness of this crime in (literally) concrete terms really leaves an impression.
AntiNote: These photographs were taken over two days in Kiev last week, 22 and 23 January 2014, by citizen photographer Ilya Varlamov. He posted them today on livejournal, with his own commentary.
We have selected a few of the more impressive images, and have included Varlamov’s captions where appropriate. He warns that Western media’s impressions of last week’s reactionary escalations in Kiev are largely mythological and exaggerated.
Nonetheless, AntiDote takes seriously the analyses of our comrades working with New Left groupings in Eastern Europe, which argue that the Euromaidan movement and opposition to Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt government have been increasingly instrumentalized by radical rightwing and nationalist groups. We caution our readers to maintain a healthy skepticism, and we by no means intend to offer support or encouragement to forces with racist, chauvinist, militaristic, or totalitarian designs.
Please click on each image for a closer look.