Oslo Dokumentarkino er støttet av Institusjonen Fritt Ord, Oslo kommune og Norsk filminstitutt.

The Syrian Peace Action Centre (SPACE) in Oslo, in collaboration with The Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF), Arabiske filmdager and Oslo Dokumentarkino invites you to The Question of Syria - a three-day event of panel discussions and film screenings about resistance, art and revolution in Syria.

Cinemateket, Thursday September 24th, 17:30:
(NB The event will start precisely on time)

The Palestinization of
Syrian Refugees

How will Norway and Europe relate to the refugees now coming in large numbers? What do we see as the real problem: The fact that the refugees are coming? The war and terrible conditions that they are escaping from? Or the enormous obstacles they meet on the way here?

Debate followed by film screening
Film: On the Bride's Side

The conflict in Syria has created the largest refugee crisis in our time. Between 10 and 15 million people have been forced to leave their homes. So far more than 4 million people have fled across the border to neighbouring countries, and the numbers are rising.

The situation for the refugees has become increasingly present in the Norwegian and European media over the last weeks and months. However, the debate about the refugees is still being repeatedly depoliticized and reduced into a question of numbers only.

In this debate we will take as a point of departure the assertion that the influx of refugees is not the core of the problem; rather it is the outcome of a distorted world order.

We want to approach the discussion about the refugees by posing critical political and moral questions about the current global state of affairs, immigration laws and the grave injustices that contribute to worsening the crisis, with a special focus on the Syrian refugees' case and the European and Norwegian response to these questions.

Why is the metaphor Palestinization of Syrian refugees relevant? What are the historical commonalities between the Palestinian refugees and Syrian refugees today? How does the refugee laws in neighboring countries affect the living conditions of Syrian refugees? How is the political debate in Norway framing the issue of Syrian refugees? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in the debate.


See below for information about and trailer for the film On the Bride's Side. The film will be shown after the discussion. Film start will be approximately 19:00. Your ticket is valid for both debate and film screening. Tickets are sold by Cinemateket.no. See more information below.

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Panel debate:

Yassin al-Haj Saleh  will explain the metaphor Palestinization of Syrian refugees through a historical comparison between Palestinian refugees and Syrian refugees today; namely, how the current political discourse is framing the refugees in a manner that strips them from their political agency and contributes to reducing 'refugee-ness' to a state of victimhood, inaction and passivity.

Saleh is one of Syria’s most prominent intellectuals and political dissidents. In 1980, while studying medicine in Aleppo University, he was arrested by the Hafez al-Assad regime because of his political activism. He remained in prison for 16 years (1980–1996). He never practiced medicine, instead he turned to writing. Yassin al-Haj Saleh writes on political, social and cultural subjects relating to Syria and the Arab world. He has authored and edited five books about Syria. He is a co-founder of the Syrian online periodical al-Jumhuriya and the Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul Hamisch.

Senay Ozden is a cultural anthropologist and researcher from Turkey. Her research areas include international migration, refugees, the Turkish State’s refugee policies and politics of humanitarian aid.  She has published numerous articles and reports on Syrian refugees in Turkey. She is also one of the founders of the Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul, Hamisch. She will talk about the status and living conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey and how these conditions are influenced by the asylum and immigration laws in Turkey.
Line Khateeb is Norwegian-Palestinian and was in the period 2008-2012 head of the Palestine Committee of Norway. The last three years she has been working in the Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS),  giving legal assistance and guidance to asylum seekers and doing policy work. She has a master in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Oslo. She will talk about the situation for the Syrian-Palestinian refugees.

Hanne Heszlein-Lossius is currently working as an intern doctor at Haraldsplass sykehus in Bergen. In addition to an education in medicine she has a bachelor in journalism. She was part of a group of health care workers who started "Helsehjelp for papirløse" in Bergen, a medical centre that provides medical care for undocumented immigrants in Bergen (papirløse innvandrere). Heszlein-Lossius also started the Facebook page Har du plass til en ekstra i hjemmet ditt? in May 2015 as a response to the ongoing debate on how Norway should help Syrian refugees.

Moderator: Jørgen Jensehaugen is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Historical Studies at the Faculty of Humanities at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway.

On the Bride's Side
Gabriele Del Grande, Antonio
Augugliaro, Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry,
Palestine/Italy, 2014, 89 min.

About the film:
On the Bride's Side

The film On the Bride's Side premiered at the prestigious Venice Film Festival in 2014 where it won an award. It was also the opening film at the Human Rights Human Wrongs Documentary Film Festival in Oslo in February 2015. If you missed it then now is your chance. If you did see it, come anyway. It's worth watching again.

Who are least likely to be stopped by the border police?

This was the question the directors asked themselves as they planned to help five refugees from Syria to get from Italy to Sweden. The answer was as obvious as it was ingenious: A wedding party!

The film follows the group disguised as a wedding procession on their journey towards Sweden, the only country likely to give them the help they are entitled. The filmmakers themselves risk 15 years in prison for human smuggling. An intimate portrait of the refugees, this film makes the journey deeply emotional as it raises pressing questions about the human cost of keeping up Fortress Europe.

See trailer below.
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Film Awards to On the Bride's Side:

71st Venice International Film Festival
Human Rights Nights Award
For the courage and the originality of a crowdfunded operation which reminds us in a light and profound way that every migrant is not a number but a human being.

International Film Festival and Forum for Human Rights FIFDH Geneva (section “Creative Documentaries”)
Grand Prize of Geneva 
For the beautiful lesson of humanity and solidarity amongst citizens, which sorely lacks today.

TERRA DI CINEMA Festival du nouveau cinéma italien Paris
Prix du meilleur documentaire
Fedic Award (Italian Federation of Cineclubs)
Because it is the prototype of a new model for independent and participated cinema, both on the productive and on the authorial level.

Social Critic Award “Sorriso Diverso” (Different Smile)
For the great and brave example of civil disobedience against inhuman laws.

See the trailer of On the Bride's Side:

Venue: Cinemateket, Filmens hus
Dronningensgate 16, Oslo.
kr 50 will be on sale later on cinemateket.no or over the counter at Filmens hus.

Thursday September 24th
Start: 17:30 (Be precise)

Film starts
at approximately 19:00.
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The Syrian Peace Action Centre (SPACE) in Oslo, in collaboration with The Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF), Arabiske filmdager and Oslo Dokumentarkino invites you to ‘The Question of Syria’ — a three-day event of panel discussions and film screenings about resistance, art and revolution in Syria, introducing the works of Syrian artists, intellectuals and cultural actors. The Question of Syria will explain the Syrian cause in a common cultural language that demystifies the increasingly complex political landscape through highlighting underreported alternative narratives of the struggle, closer to the aspirations of the Syrian people.

For infomation about other events in this program click here.

Since March 2011, the Syrian people have been struggling to put an end to decades of imperious tyranny brought about by the stubborn refusal of the Assad dynasty to step down. The consequences of this struggle have been catastrophic for the people who suddenly found themselves isolated in their fight against one of the world’s most ruthless totalitarian regimes. The Assad regime, and the emergent Islamist groupings that solidified after the revolution have been especially focused on fragmenting and liquidating ‘the people’ as a political and social force. Despite this grim background, the popular uprising in Syria continued; many people still uphold the same values they first rose up for, but now in their everyday resistance they have to face a brutal regime as well as religious extremists.

September 24th - September 26th, 2015 SPACE organises several events in Oslo. The overarching message of these events are to portray the ongoing, multifaceted Syrian uprising, to introduce the alternative democratic forces in Syria and to provide a forum for interested public in Norway to engage in and reflect on the The Question of Syria. Read more here.

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