Creative resistance in Syria is flourishing in the midst of bloody civil war, according to the author of a series of YouTube parodies who spoke at this year's International Journalism Festival in Ferrara. 'In Syria you die, and prisons are full. But this revolution was started by a group of peaceful young people and it is a revolution that defends human rights. If people have chosen to take to arms then it is an act of defence, against a brutal regime", says 27 year old Orwa Al Mokdad, author of 'Top Goon, Diary of a Little Dictator,' which parodies Syrian president Assad. Orwa spoke of the dilemma faced by himself and other co-authors between peaceful protest and violent struggle.
"We have tried to overcome fear with irony", said Orwa, who was himself imprisoned and tortured in Damascus without being identified as one of the series authors.
"The revolution against Assad", he underlined, "is no less just than before. The armed struggle can be seen as a continuation of peaceful resistance." According to Arab media expert Donatella Della Ratta, who met Orwa in Damasco, "Facebook pages, blogs, websites, and forums are still filled with humour, parody and satire". "A large part of the country is engaged in creative, non violent resistance that brings about innovative acts of civil disobedience", she said. In bringing Orwa to Ferrara a spotlight is shined on a part of the Syrian resistance which until now has been largely ignored. Indeed Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera wanted to tell the story of Orwa in a documentary in which he writes an imaginary letter telling of his decision to sell his library to buy a Kalashnikov. Since the first anti-Assad rumblings in 2011, Orwa has stayed true, not only to his creative and non violent spirit, but also to the idea of a Utopia which can topple dictatorships without organized leadership. Staying faithful to his vision, he adds, notwithstanding the tragedy that has consumed Syria for the past 18 months, a Utopian movement with widespread and horizontal leadership can still live".