Friday, 27 January 2017
“My Heart Continues to Break”: Editor Aaron I. Butler on Cries from Syria
'The most important element in the footage we focused on was the kids. The Syrian people had lived under a dictatorship for 40 years, but in 2011 the regime began openly torturing children. This was the final straw for the Syrians, and the revolution began in earnest at that point. As the regime continued to brutally attack the protesters and people who rebelled, we saw again and again in the footage the suffering of Syria’s children. No matter what you feel about the political situation in Syria, no one can deny that the suffering of these kids is inhumane.
By far the most difficult scene to cut was the chemical weapons bombardment on civilians in Eastern Ghouta. We had footage from inside the hospitals right after the attack occurred, and watching little children convulsing and foaming at the mouth broke my heart. I focused on doing my part to help them, knowing that above all, the Syrians wanted the world to know what was happening to them. They wanted people to see the barbaric actions of their government. And I knew that the emotions I felt watching the footage were nothing compared to those who witnessed the atrocities first hand.
When I began editing the film, I had very little knowledge of what was happening in Syria. I knew that the government had been bombing rebels in Aleppo, and that many cities had been destroyed in a civil war. But I had no idea how or why the war had begun. By the end of the film, the thing that struck me the most was who the “rebels” turned out to be. They were just ordinary civilians, who had taken to the streets to peacefully protest the brutal torture of their children. Throughout the film I got to see firsthand how these civilian’s lives were changed by the war, the fighting that they were forced into, and the brutality their own government subjected them to, simply because they asked for the most basic human rights. The overall feeling I was left with is that the Syrian people are no different than you or I, and we must do everything we can to help and protect them.
Soon after the film was finished, we heard the news that Aleppo had fallen to the Syrian regime. It was a difficult blow to the revolution, and a horrible end to the unbelievable slaughter in that city. The war continues on, with more dying every day. My heart continues to break for the freedom fighters and refugees that the world has for the most part ignored.'