Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Opinion | Syrians angered by Jackie Chan’s exploitation of their pain

Jackie Chan receiving an honoray Oscar award in Nov. 2016; Photo Credit: The Official Website of Jackie Chan

This is a new story from Syria, and this time the hero/villain is the well-known Chinese actor Jackie Chan. Recently Chan began filming a movie called “Home Operation” in Syria under the supervision of Syrian intelligence. The film project was launched in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad neighborhood of Damascus. The film revolves around the evacuation of 600 Chinese citizens along with more than 200 foreigners and diplomats during the war that began in Yemen in 2015.

Assad regime forces had taken control of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area in 2018, after destroying most of the houses of the area which numbered more than tens of thousands before 2011. The residents who had been forced to evacuate Syria during the siege have continued to hope to eventually return to their homes.

The scenes angered many free Syrians and their supporters because the Chinese film company chose an area that was brutally destroyed by the Assad regime with a total lack of respect for the Syrians who have been displaced from the area

Ruthanne Sikora

The film’s director, Ynixi Song, recently shared scenes and snapshots of the film on his Instagram account. The footage he took shows the extent of the destruction of the houses and the rubble in this place.

The scenes angered many free Syrians and their supporters because the Chinese film company chose an area that was brutally destroyed by the Assad regime with a total lack of respect for the Syrians who have been displaced from the area, and the blood shed by those who were killed during the siege.

The request of the film makers was that they wanted a filming location where there would be great destruction, as it would save them the millions of dollars it would have cost to create props to portray the kind of destruction imposed on Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area by Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Jackie Chan is exploiting the Syrian tragedies by choosing to film this movie in the devastated areas in Damascus. When asked why he choose to film in Syria, Chan told the media that it’s too expensive to build studios that look similar to these areas.

For Jackie Chan to choose to film in an area where so many Syrians have suffered is viewed by many as an exploitation of their pain and the horrors they have been subjected to.

Ruthanne Sikora

As an international actor, Jackie Chan has had a wide audience in the Arab world for decades and his films must have entered the homes of the majority of Arabs. He is famous for his combative and comedic performances, the use of improvised weapons, his agility and innovative acrobatic stunts that he performs himself. He has more than 200 films to his credit, and won many Oscars.

For Jackie Chan to choose to film in an area where so many Syrians have suffered is viewed by many as an exploitation of their pain and the horrors they have been subjected to. And the regime that facilitated the filming of this movie in Syria has also exploited its own crimes in exchange for the millions it required for the approval of the filming permit.

This is not the first time. The devastated areas of Syria have been turned into open studios and many films have been shot in the past few years. In a just world perhaps these exorbitant funds would be spent on the reconstruction of these afflicted areas in order to facilitate the return of displaced Syrians to their homes. But as long as Assad remains in power, we know that justice has no home in Syria.

Ruthanne Sikora
Ruthanne Sikora
Ruthanne Sikora is a full-time caregiver for her differently-abled daughter Lauren, human rights activist, Global Studies student, part-time writer and English editor.

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