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In northern Syria, rebels use satire as a weapon

By Salma Abdelaziz, CNN
updated 5:52 AM EDT, Thu October 24, 2013
The northern Syrian town of Kafr Nabl has gained fame for its satirical portrayal of the conflict.
The northern Syrian town of Kafr Nabl has gained fame for its satirical portrayal of the conflict.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rebels in northern Syrian town chide al-Assad with satirical posters, videos
  • Leader says laughter shows world "we are human and we want to live"
  • Latest video features civilians and Free Syria Army rebels dressed like cavemen

(CNN) -- War and humor make strange bedfellows, but in the absurdity of Syria's nearly three-year civil war, one town has made laughter a form of resistance.

From caricatures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with a skunk's body and chemical weapons smoking from his bottom to posters reading "Rebuilding houses takes some time, but humanizing ASSad can never happen" the northern town of Kafr Nabl has gained fame for its satirical portrayal of the conflict.

"Laughter means life. We want to live and we need to live. We need to send a message to the world that we are human and we want to live," said Raed Fares, head of the opposition Kafr Nabl media center.

In its latest comedic production, an amateur cast of activists, civilians and Free Syria Army rebels dressed like cavemen and mocked the inaction of the international community in a video called "Kafranbel: The Syrian Revolution in Three Minutes."

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"I thought it would be good to use cavemen because of the language. I don't need to translate or say anything; everybody all over the world can understand without talking," said Fares, who produced and directed the video.

In the first two scenes, the cavemen demonstrate against al-Assad only to be killed first by gunfire then by TNT, but when the oppressors fire chemical weapons, previously uninterested bystanders representing the international community intervene to confiscate the gas. In the final scene, the killing continues sans chemical weapons and with approving thumps from the international community.

"Something was very wrong with (President Barack) Obama's actions that he will strike Assad just to get rid of chemical weapons. It was like he was arresting the weapons and letting the criminal go free," Fares said.

The media-savvy group received tens of thousands of views for its latest production and boasts a large audience on Facebook, where its members post pictures of the caustic placards carried in the group's weekly Friday demonstrations against the government.

"I don't trust governments all over the world anymore. I trust people, so I try to touch the people all over the world and explain our revolution. That it's not like the regime keeps trying to show it like a civil war or a war against terrorism. We are humans who need our freedom and our dignity, but he killed us," Fares said.

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