by Stan Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee
There’s no way to pretty-up the immense suffering in Syria, but at our program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, we used photos, photos of artwork and music as a way to keep spirits up. The audience of mostly Syrians was very appreciative.
Featured was a world class professional photographer whose work has appeared in many news sites and newspapers. Dylan Connor, a teacher, professional singer and member of the Syrian-American Congress spoke and sang. He visited the Jordanian “Free Zone” right next to Syria this year and distributed aid to Syrian refugees and recorded their stories. We showed Connor’s music video “Idlib” and he sang songs including “Man of Peace” which was part of Little Gandhi, the first Syrian film considered for an Academy Award. In addition to viewing the art we discussed the remaining liberated zones in Syria, Idlib in the northwest, Rukban in the south and the third of the country controlled by Kurdish forces. In Connor’s music video we saw large crowds waving the original flags and chanting the same slogans that appeared in 2011.
The event was sponsored by Promoting Enduring Peace, the Middle East Crisis Committee and cosponsored by nearly ten other groups.
Interestingly enough the New Haven-based Syrian artist Mohammed Hafez has an exhibit in the city of Fairfield at a different university. It’s called “Collateral Damage” and it will run until Dec. 15. It’s at the Fairfield University Museum in the Walsh Gallery, Quick Center for the Arts. Hafez’s works, which highlight the trauma of refugees and the destruction inside Syria, have gotten enormous attention.