Yesterday after having lunch with Kafranbel media activists; with Raed Fares, Hammoud Jneid and Khaled Issa, me and my friend suggested that we screen cartoons to refugee children hosted by Kafranbel village (read about this amazing village here and here).
The activists felt discouraged: “children are not children here, they’re now accustomed on the language and the circumstances of war that made childhood a distant idea than a human phase.”
I insisted on trying: “I still watch cartoon until now, in fact, especially now that we’re living war conditions, I am sure kids or at least some, will be pleased.”
Despite Kafranbel activists’ discouragement, we agreed on preparing and screening silent cartoons on January 3rd (today), so we downloaded from the net Pink Panther, Pat and Mat (known as Zingo & Ringo in the Arab speaking countries) among other silent cartoons.
Today at 5 PM we went to a school filled with many refugee children and moved school chairs to the yard with the help of refugee young men. Kafranbel activists hanged with clothes pins a big white fabric to screen on the videos. Luckily for the refugee children, we’ve found a projector and speakers, borrowed a generator from Kafranbel media center and here we are, Pink Panther’s silly smile is in front of us in this dark, children’s clapping broke the shelling’s noise behind us (the shelling targetted Maarra located 10 Kilo from Kafranbel).
We screened a video after another but some of the children, especially those who fled Al-Maaraa asked us to screen videos on the Free Syrian Army and started clapping and chanting: “God save the Free Syrian Army!”
I was confused, I thought to myself: is it really true? Childhood no longer exists in Syria? That innocent childhood phase that I miss and long for when I am down?
We screened a short report on FSA that Kafranbel media activists filmed during battles, but we cut it and continued with the cartoons.
The screening lasted for almost an hour, we ended the screening due to the cold weather. We were approached by the children later on and us to screen “mouse and cat” next time. “You got it!” I said, “but no videos on revolution next time, OK?” I asked the children. “OK, and no Pink Panther next time please!”
We laughed, as long as the kids are demanding to watch cartoons, then I guess we still have hope, we still have hope that our humanity and our children’s childhood won’t be distorted for good.
This is the first time that such screening takes place in Kafranbel, and it won’t be the last for sure.