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Cinema for Peace In Aleppo

ALEPPO – As the first film star from the western world, Jan Josef Liefers completed a one-day humanitarian mission to Syria yesterday by the  Cinema for Peace Foundation. The aim of the mission was to bring help and more attention to the suffering of innocent people in Syria, which has already claimed close to 100 000 lives, with many of them children. Cinema for Peace and its founder Jaka Bizilj initiated by request of filmmaker Robert King  the delivery of 2.000 kilos of baby formula to Aleppo. Babies, in absence of any food and the challenge for their traumatized mothers to breast-feed them, are in a particularly grave danger. Despite some detours, all goods could be delivered successfully.
Liefers and Bizilj visited war-torn cities in the rebel-controlled areas, such as Aleppo, as well as refugee camps. As Liefers saw gruesome images of wounded children and civilians, of bombed clinics and schools, he thought, "Can the situation really be too complex to stop all that?" In Aleppo, which has been the subject of fierce fighting and where they witnessed bombings, Liefers was impressed how well everything still functioned despite the adversity of the war, thanks to the resilience of the people in the city.

During the mission, Liefers and Bizilj spoke with a number of fighters, doctors and refugees, only to find out that the people suffering from the conflict are very ordinary people, who started peaceful protests against the regime not unlike those seen in the DDR in 1989, when Liefers spoke for democracy to 700.000 people in Berlin. However, President Bashar Al-Assad's violent response to these protests was what brought the country into the grips of bloody slaughter.

It is hoped that this humanitarian mission will not only raise awareness of the conflict but also lead to more concrete actions within foreign policy on how to help the people in Syria: at least immediate medical and humanitarian help must be provided, and a no-fly zone ought be put in place to protect the people from Al-Assad's daily bombings. "Our visit showed us that Syria is at a crossroads,” states Liefers. "We shouldn’t leave the revolution to the radical powers but support the people that wish for a free, open-minded and democratic Syria.“

Jan Josef Liefers is Germany's best-known actor, having recently achieved a record figure of 13 million viewers for his latest film. Jaka Bizilj said, "He was the first artist we have managed to convince to go, hopefully others from the USA, UK and other countries will follow with the same courage and shed a light on the poor people, who need our urgent help." 

We invite you to watch the following trailers on the topic of Syria:
  • Footage of the Cinema for Peace Foundation mission to Syria.
  • GROUND ZERO: SYRIA by Robert King is a compilation of photojournalist and videographer King’s footage into a series of raw, largely unedited vignettes that present a snapshot of the ancient city of Aleppo as it crumbles and burns while its citizens are killed indiscriminately.
  • DEATH VISITED ME. YET ON THE SHELF, THERE WAS NO COFFEE by Omar al-Khani is a movie created to show the world experiences the filmmaker had in Damascus suburbs in the summer of 2012. He wanted the world to see what Syrians are being forced to live through every day for the last two years.
  • BATTLE FOR SYRIA by Jamie Doran presents a journey inside the heart of the Syrian insurgency with rebels waging a full-scale assault.
  • MORNING FEARS, NIGHT CHANTS by Roula Ladqani and Salma Aldairy is a film about a young Syrian woman doesn't share her parents' beliefs, but she's still been locked up inside their belief system all her life. Because she is a young woman, her parents almost never allow her to leave the house, let alone participate in activities against the Syrian regime. But she rebels anyway.
  • THE SUFFERING GRASSES by Iara Lee seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps.