“The Suffering Grasses: When Elephants Fight, It Is The Grass That Suffers” directed by Iara Lee.
Over a year later, with thousands dead and counting, the ongoing conflict in Syria has become a microcosm for the complicated politics of the region, and an unsavory reflection of the world at large. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, NATO’s toppling of Moammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the complicated politics of the region, this film seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps. In all such conflicts, large and small, it is civilians—women and children, families and whole communities—who suffer at the leisure of those in power. While focusing on the plight of those caught in the crossfire of the hegemons, we seek to unravel the conflict by exploring the motivations of its actors—the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Free Syrian Army and other geopolitical players like the United States, Israel, Russia, China, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, the Gulf countries… When elephants go to war, it is the grass that suffers. This is a film about the elephants, but made for the grasses.
The documentary will be screened for FREE at select Cinescape Theaters (Fanar, Avenues, 360 Mall & Bairaq) from June 28th – July 4th.
Press on “The Suffering Grasses:”
Iara Lee Biography:
Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker, and founder of CULTURES OF RESISTANCE NETWORK, an organization that promotes global solidarity and supports peace with justice projects. Iara is currently working on a variety of initiatives that brings together artists and changemakers from around the world. At the center of these initiatives is a feature-length documentary film entitled CULTURES OF RESISTANCE, which explores how creative action contributes to conflict prevention and resolution.
As an activist, Iara has collaborated with numerous grassroots efforts, including the International Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions, the New York Philharmonic’s groundbreaking 2008 music-for-diplomacy concert in North Korea and creative resistance projects in Iran, Lebanon, Palestine. In May 2010, Iara was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara, a passenger vessel in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was attacked in international waters by the Israeli navy, leading to the murder of nine humanitarian aid workers. Among the many people who recorded the events on that ship, her crew was the only one to successfully hide and retain most of the raid footage, which she later released to the world after a screening at the UN. Iara is very dedicated to the support of Gazan civilians who have been victims of war crimes committed by the Israeli military during “Operation Cast Lead” and who suffer from the Israeli government’s ongoing acts of collective punishment.
At the onset of the Iraq war in 2003, Iara, eager to understand the conflict better, decided to travel and live in the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa). While residing in Lebanon in 2006, Iara experienced firsthand the 34-day Israeli bombardment of that country. Since then, moved by that experience, she has dedicated herself to the pursuit of a just peace in the region, and is an enthusiastic supporter of those initiatives which strengthen adherence to international law in enforcing human rights. In 2008 Iara lived in Iran and supported a number of cultural exchange projects between that country and the West with the goal of promoting arts & culture for global solidarity.
From 1984 to 1989 Iara was the producer of the Sao Paulo International Film Festival. From 1989-2003 she was based in New York City, where she ran the mixed-media company Caipirinha Productions to explore the synergy of different art forms (such as film, music, architecture, and poetry). Under that banner, Iara has directed short and feature-length documentaries including Synthetic Pleasures, Modulations, Architettura, and Beneath the Borqa.
Iara is a member of the Council of Advisors of National Geographic Society and The International Crisis Group (ICG), long time supporter of Greenpeace International, as well as a trustee to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), North Korea’s first and only university whose faculty is composed of international professors.
IARA LEE * CulturesOfResistance.org