“The Long Night” Of Syrian Oppression

To be a Syrian over the age of 50 is to have lived your entire life under a regime which did not allow freedom of speech or thought. A new Syrian film, “The Long Night” tells the tale of a man who was jailed for over twenty years because of his desire for freedom of thought is suddenly released and must re-establish his life. Kakrim returns home to discover his son now keeps his thoughts to himself and has succeeded in life while his daughter has married the son of the man who help send him to prison. The film by Hatem Ali is a metaphor for a nation which is undecided on its future and whether there is greater need for freedom of thinking. Screenwriter Haitham Hakki believes the film is “an invitation to reconciliation, to putting an end to these exceptional circumstances.”

The coming to power a decade ago by Bashar Al-Assad initially ushered in the famous “Damascus Spring” in which freedom blossomed for a fragile moment only to end in the brutality of dictatorship. Ironically, the film was made in Syria, and although shown throughout the world, has yet to appear in Syria.

Perhaps, there again will be a more permanent “Damascus Spring.”