Syrian media... Diamonds to meet the poor

Syrian media… Diamonds to meet the poor

Underestimating the suffering of people (Amer Al-Muhaibani/AFP)

There is a general trend in the Syrian artistic press whose discourse is dominated by the character of nostalgia and exaggerates its praise of the Syrian drama before 2011. However, the current scenes transmitted by the official and alternative Syrian media cameras refer us to the drama that we were making during that period and urges us to refer to it; Not because it was the typical drama that reflected a reality we might have come to, but rather because some series of that stage had a special critical awareness that we completely lose today, and recalling this drama in some cases seems to be a mockery of what is happening in our current reality.
In the series “The White Thread” by Nihad Siris and director Haitham Haqi, the series’ hero, Jamal Suleiman, says, sarcastically, in a behind-the-scenes interview of the television production: “What diamond set would you wear in your touching dialogue with this poor helpless man thrown in the nursing home?” To taunt the separation of the television media from reality and to point out its distance from the issues it raises and claims interest in. This criticism can be generalized to most of the new programs produced by the local Syrian media today.
Recently, after the Syrian media loyal to the regime began to leave the traditional official media institutions and turn to alternative platforms to present their own programmes, the Syrian media lost part of its well-known wooden sobriety. The media sector, who took off their ties and formal suits, and instead wore modern fashion. Some of them are now appearing on the screen only in fashion from the most expensive international brands; The Syrians’ screens have invaded the luxury Western brands, which are far from the purchasing power of the Syrian citizen. Indeed, some pieces of clothing worn by these people exceed the income of the Syrian citizen for a whole year.

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These observations may suggest that we implicitly adopt the stereotype that was painted for the Syrians in recent years after years of war and waves of displacement and poverty, and that we may be keen on forcing Syrian media professionals to wear this image, especially since similar conversations have appeared in the public sphere, finally, after the Syrian YouTuber Bisan Ismail wearing a dress made of banknotes amounting to 20 thousand dollars, and the matter was met with harsh comments, considering that Bisan’s appearance provokes the feelings of the public.
But no, we are not here to prosecute Syrian media professionals and celebrities or hold them accountable for the money they earn, but rather to discuss their views within the contexts in which they appear; Wearing a dollar dress that showcases opulence in a luxury mall is certainly no offense to anyone, and fits the context of your video. Also, wearing very expensive costumes, the price of which may be equivalent to the expenses of an entire Syrian family for about a year, is something that may be acceptable in the artistic talk shows presented by Attia Awad, for example, but it does not seem acceptable in the programs in which the media communicates directly with The poor and the afflicted, and shows kindness, such as the program “People for One Another” presented by Shadi Hilweh, as Hilweh meets with Syrians inside Syria who suffer from the difficult daily conditions of life due to the high cost of living and the economic crisis.

We are not here to try Syrian media professionals and celebrities or hold them accountable for the money they earn

When you see Shadi Hilweh wandering about in poor city neighborhoods, wearing a T-shirt from one of his favorite brands, the price of which is no less than 120 euros and may reach 750 euros, you realize the extent to which the Syrian media is detached from reality, and the extent to which it underestimates the suffering of people and its indifference to its investment. Shadi Hilweh distributes money to the poorest people after asking them simple questions in mathematics, to add or subtract prime numbers. The irony is that some do not know the answers. These simple meetings express the state of extreme poverty and ignorance that Syrians have reached at home today.
The problem is not only with Shadi Sweet’s costumes and their inconsistency with the scene. Shadi Sweet’s character in and of itself does not fit with the nature of the program; Which seems nothing but an attempt to polish and whiten his image after he was one of the most hated figures in the Syrian media for several years during which he worked as a war correspondent, during which time he advanced to the rank of media officer, and all closed doors were opened for him. In addition, the way in which the program is presented is very cheap, and it only looks like a photo session in which the media cheers the people, where sad music and slow shots are used for every poor person who passes the program, to urge the audience to pity and perhaps contribute by sending financial subsidies to them, to help them. In turn the afflicted people.
It is worth noting that the Shadi Hilweh program is somewhat similar to the video published by the Syrian YouTuber residing in Britain, Youssef Qabbani, who visited Syria, and distributed aid documented to people on the street, when he was arrested; It seems that the Syrian regime is supervising the process, and does not allow martyrdom against the Syrians, except for those who are satisfied with them!

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