Syria: Graffiti Activists Challenge IS and Assad


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Activist groups in the city of Kafranbel (Idlib province, Northwest Syria) have organized a graffiti campaign called : "Freedom Without Any Doubt". Activists in the city are trying to fight radical islamist militias that have established a rule of terror in Syrian cities by painting quotes from the Koran that preach a humanist Islam on the city's walls . They also want to gain control of the public space back, which they say had been confiscated by Bashar al Assad's dictatorship as well as by religious militias such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

ISIS has retreated from Kafranbel after a fight against moderate Islamist battalions, three months ago. Since then, activists can work freely.
We follow Hassan Al Ahmed and his fellow activists as they go on a tagging spree at night. We also follow Amer Mattar as he hangs posters around the town. Mattar's younger brother has been fighting with ISIS for several months but this doesn't keep the activist from fighting them with his posters.


Name: Hassan AL AHMED – ACTIVIST for 3ISH
Bite 1: "No religion is to be against one's will" is designed especially for the extremist islamists who say that Sunnis are the strongest. That they want to kill the Alawites and kick out the Christians. We tell them that Syrians are one people."
Bite 2: "There has been a militarization of the conflict but we are against that. We have kept faith in our principles, which are to obtain our freedom and our honor by peaceful protests. We don't want any weapons. "
Bite 3: "The Islamists came in town, they wanted to fight Jihad (holy war). We had to go underground in order to keep our activities going. We would go tagging and painting walls by night and they would answer back by spraying our tags with religious quotes, because all they wanted was verses from the Koran. But we kept on, so they fought us. They arrested my brother and put him in jail. They arrested many civil activists."
Bite 4 : "In darkness: The fly represents us: the youth who keep holding the wall. The fly on the wall keeps observing and buzzing."
Bite 5: "It's a campaign against military. We want to say that the military is wrong."

Name: Amer MATTAR – Profession: Activist for AL SHARE3
Bite 1 (night): "This is an opportunity to gain back the public space that was stolen from us by militia, and that was formerly occupied by the regime with the pictures of Bashar and Hafez Al Assad and that is taken now by Koranic verses. "
Bite 2: (day): "We are trying to spread our ideas and to confront religious extremism by quotes from the Holy Koran such as "Freedom without a doubt", "No religion is to be against one's will", or "How dare you take people as slaves, after they were born free", a quote from Caliph Omar Ben Khattab. "
Bite 3: "Anyone living on Syrian ground takes a risk as the regime can target any place. People are even afraid to have their houses tagged, fearing the regime could target them for that. My personal security situation is not different from the security situation the town is facing."

Shot List: (Description of various shots in the video)

Various shots of: Syrian activists tagging on a wall in Kafranbel by night.
Shot of tag on wall: "Freedom without a doubt"
Shot of tag on wall: "No religion is to be against one's will"
Various shots of: Hassan Al Ahmed preparing and projecting "the fly" pattern.
Various shots of: Kafranbel by day B-roll: destructions and downtown
Various shots of: Hassan Al Ahmed and Amer Mattar putting posters on the walls of Kafranbel by day.
Shots of poster on wall: "Freedom without a doubt"
Shot of poster on wall: "No religion is to be against one's will"
Final shot of bikes leaving with poster on the pole: "How dare you take men as slaves after they were born free?"