Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/AIDOS in Syria
AIDOS in Syria
AIDOS is an example of a European Association of women originally formed for the enforcement of women's rights in their own political context, and that now is sharing their acquired competence with women associations in developing countries. What is typical of AIDOS is that they do not have the arrogance of being the "modern liberated western women" who pretend to be the ones who teach the "traditional oppressed eastern women" how to be emancipated women. They believe that both, woman and man, western and eastern, have to learn from each other how to recognize the value of woman's nature and how to free oneself from cultural stereotypes. Other cultures have been smarter in liberating some aspects of femininity and have been more subject to self oppression of other aspects of womanhood: but no culture has ever renounced to reaffirming the dignity and beauty of being a woman. So, by working together, women's associations in different nations can recognize in themselves the potentialities that might have been better developed by others. Then, they can propose new ways of more peaceful and dignified cooperation amongst different cultures, be it the Euroepan and Asian culture or the culture of being a woman and being a man.
Valentina, the Italian project leader, was really positive and constructive. She revealed the complete picture of the project, seen from all its sides and challenges. Her Syrian colleagues also were very dynamic and constructive. Francesco got very interested in the issue of home violence. He asked if he could get an interview to a women victim. The Syrian team agreed to it, and they found a woman ready to tell her story so that it could help other women victim of violence to get the courage to move out of their hells. Surely that was making an interesting and emotional passage of the story. But I was afraid that it would have been overplayed by Francesco and that the story would have fallen back into the usual stereotyped of Arab sciovinist man and victimized oppressed women. What I wanted to show was the determination and the courage of the women to have solidarity amongst them and challenge the determinants of ignorance and violence which was suppressing both them and the men as victims of different sorts of violence. And how much in fact they were receiving support and encouragement fro official Syrian authorities and from the civil society there; before and independently from any foreign collaborative support.
Francesco promised to be faithful to the whole story. And he decided to follow up Lola as testimonial of a new open model of Syrian women. She was the legal counselor of the Centre. And she could speak good French and English. However he made a strange “quid pro quo” request. We would have talked of Lola but we would have interviewed her in Palmyra, amongst the ruins of that which was the capital of Zenobia, the Arab queen who dared to challenge the Roman Empire. I (and the colleagues of Aidos project) found the parallelism a bit banal. But I did not want to be judgmental. Francesco insisted in “trust me, I am a media professional, you will understand from the results”. So I let him do. And anyway to see again the beautiful Palmyra … just needed an excuse. And that was a good excuse.
In Palmyra we found also an Italian archaeologist and we got her interview as well. They were searching so much for the typical postcard scenes that they even paid a local horseman for riding on the sand down a dune. Well, it was me who took TV professional on boards; now bare with it Stefano.
The TV7 about Syria and Lebanon was the first one to be broadcast by RAI with the material of the ongoing project. It had been given so much emphasis on archeology and so little attention to the challenges of international Cooperation. They had brought the reportage to us with so much emphasis. But we were so disappointed about it. With so many important things happening in Syria nothing more that archeology was important to say to the Italian television public?