Subtitle the Tyrant takes aim at Bashar Al-Assad

16 februari, 2012

Three videos of the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad are available on the campaign’s website.

Causing the collapse of dictatorships Obviously, Hivos does not really believe that this internet campaign can cause the collapse of dictatorships. But with the campaign Hivos would like to demand attention for the people who do. Activists, bloggers and ordinary citizens who take great risks to speak out in favour of freedom, justice and wealth in their country. In Syria too it is precisely these people who lead the revolution against the tyrant. Thanks to them dictator Bashar Al-Assad is openly criticised and ridiculed: criticism is now out in the open.

Assad’s collapse only seems a matter of time now, but particularly artists and bloggers have to fear for their lives. Cartoonist Ali Farzat was abducted and tortured, the singer of a protest song was found dead in a river, his vocal cords removed. Bloggers are playing cat-and-mouse games with security services. With the online competition ‘Subtitle the Tyrant: the Syrian edition’ Hivos wants to put these activists in the spotlights.

Satire and ridicule Openly ridiculing the leader is unthinkable in dozens of countries around the world. Satire and political cartoons are a good indicator for Hivos to see how much freedom of expression there really is. Having a competition to ridicule a tyrant reveals a stark contrast between freedom of expression in the Netherlands on the one hand and state censorship and the complete lack of freedom of speech in countries such as Iran and Syria on the other hand.

Freedom of speech is an essential ingredient of a society without oppression. That is why Hivos supports partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America who make use of people’s creativity and the power of new technology to create room for dialogue. Because art can challenge power and ICT applications can cause dictatorships to collapse.

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