In February 2013, a video published on Youtube showed a child – surrounded by a number of children and young men – singing Al-Qaida songs in the streets of Binnish in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. The songs not only glorified Bin Laden, but also incited violence against Alawites and Shiites.

The video spread quickly across social media, and the city of Binnish quickly became infamous for the song’s core statements of hatred and intolerance. Two months after the video’s release, another video of a singing child appeared on YouTube. This time, it glorified the “Fourth Brigade” of the regular Syrian army and its acts of killing and destruction in rebel-held areas of the country. Again, the video was used to incite sectarian killings and confessional hatred. Bidayyat came to the conclusion that irony is one of the few means capable of resisting violence, hatred and sectarian killing.

Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts is a Syrian non-profit organization, launched in early 2013 to support and produce Syrian documentaries, short and experimental films , and to organize specialized training courses on documentary filmmaking. Bidayyat hopes to cast light on the complexity and richness of Syria’s sociological reality through a language of documentary cinema which interrogates reality just as much as it records it, which privileges art over propaganda, people over rulers and revolution over the status quo.

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