"Return to Homs" - The Audacious Hope of Revolution
"The crisis changed each and every one of us. The challenges changed us, but mostly it was death. Death left its mark in every one of us: we all changed because of the increasing violence, the loss of people close to us, the injustice, the fragmentation."
These are the words of Talal Derki, director of the stunning, visceral and multi award winning documentary “Return to Homs”. These are words which will be familiar to millions of Syrians, each affected in their own way by more than 3 years of turmoil, upheaval, and suffering.
Derki says his film is “about the Syrian citizen who challenged everything and everyone to demand freedom”. That struggle continues in the face of global powers failing to effectively protect civilians inside Syria and the relentless punishments and humiliations including siege tactics, inflicted on Syrian civilians by Assad’s regime and by some armed opposition groups.
Return to Homs was filmed between August 2011 and August 2013. In early May 2014, the two-year siege by government forces of the Old City of Homs ended after an 'agreement' was reached with the Syrian government and the remaining inhabitants, who were exhausted by the siege. With their departure, the city of Homs – with the exception of al-Wa’er district, which is encircled by government armed forces – fell under the control of Syrian government forces. Ultimately, this 'agreement' came about due to widescale collective punishment of civilians. It is not a model the 'international community' should be holding up as a way forward to help protect civilians in Syria.
Amnesty International UK is proud to partner and help promote this film. You can see it on it’s UK tour or organise your own screening with a talk afterwards. I spoke alongside Talal at the films UK premier at the ICA on June 27 and will speak alongside him again on June 28 in Clapham and June 29 in East Finchley. Do come along and spread the news about this timely, unflinching and human story.
Kristyan Benedict is on Twitter as @KreaseChan
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.