March 15, 2024

13 years since the revolution. A message from a Syrian artist

This message is from the Syrian artist Dima Nachawi. Check out her latest artwork – a gift to Syria’s women, 13 years since the revolution.

Today marks 13 years since the start of the Syrian revolution when courageous protesters demanded freedom and democracy. The revolution was a turning point for many women in Syria. I totally changed. I started to make major decisions towards my personal goals, and I drew everything I could to preserve the memory of the events around me.

The women I have known changed too. They amaze me because I know the culture they pushed against and how they have persisted even when change felt impossible. It is the strength of our vision 13 years ago that compels us to continue to campaign, demand and for me, to draw – in defiance of sieges, chemical attacks and displacement. This year, as I continue to work alongside my friends and collaborators, I am reflecting on the powerful role women play in our revolution of dignity.

Watch and share our video, to see a celebration of every Syrian woman who has played her part in pushing for change.

The past weeks have been a brutal reminder of the challenges Syrian women and men continue to face. On February 26, feminist activist Hiba Hajj Aref was killed in northwest Syria, likely for her activism. On February 28, the regime shot at peaceful protesters in Suwayda in southern Syria and killed a man. A nine year old boy was detained for drawing on a photo of Assad.

After all the failures of international law to protect human rights in Syria, Palestine, Sudan and many more countries, we must keep working towards a better future. We must change national laws, retrieve our lands from occupations, challenge restrictive norms in our cultures, and support women and their communities, including men, families and children. Strong women reflect strong societies, which is what we should all aim for as we continue to push for a free and democratic Syria.

As an artist, I sketched the strength I see in every Syrian woman I know for this video. I wanted to give a gift to the feminist activists still demanding their rights and to the women searching for their detained loved ones. To celebrate the men and women who are still protesting on the streets in Syria and to remember all those who have been killed, tortured and attacked for their belief in a better Syria.

I hope my work contributes to preserving our cultural memory, boosting the efforts of Syrian women, and for the next generation to know the spirit and values of the Revolution. Together with our international allies, we will keep working to uphold our human rights and hold perpetrators accountable.

Help us recognise and celebrate every Syrian woman who still believes change is possible. Help us encourage those who, like me, are only just hanging onto hope. Watch and share the video.