"Live" Livens Up the Walls of Kafranbel

25 March 2014

Over the past three years of the Syrian revolution, the town of Kafranbel has reserved for itself a special place in the hearts of Syrians all over the country. The town has earned its status as the “Conscience of the Revolution”, through its world-famous banners which combine dark sarcasm and potent critique to a tremendous effect. A lesser known treasure of Kafranbel, however, are its walls.

لوحة ساخرة من الدكتاتور ويظهر أمامها بعض من فريق حملة عيش. المصدر: الصفحة الرسمية لحملة عيش على الفيسبوك
A mural mocking Assad: "This is how many times god will damn your soul". Source: Live Facebook page.

Live”, is an activist group based in Kafranbel that has taken up itself to furnish the walls of the town and its countryside with the ideas of the revolution through graffiti. The team of seven activists has managed to cover more than half the walls of Kafranbel so far. They work behind the scenes to “resist the bombardement and war that pollutes the walls and the ideas, and to maintain the town as a place for life, rather than death,” as one member says in an interview with SyriaUntold. 

During the commemoration events of the revolution’s third anniversary the team was present in most of the activities. In cooperation with activist and organizer Zeina Erhayem, the team participated in the graffiti campaign that covered many walls with revolutionary slogans like: “Religion must not be coerced”, “Freedom and only freedom”, “Kidnapping activists is treason”, “Freedom forever, for every Syrian”, “The ideals of our revolution are red lines”. The slogans were devised and agreed upon by the different group to remind people of the lofty ideals of the revolution, as well as to shed light on the violations perpetrated by armed militias in liberated areas.

شعارات على جدار أحد بيوت كفر نبل ضمن احتفالية الذكرى الثالثة للثورة السورية. المصدر: الصفحة الرسمية لحملة عيش على الفيسبوك
Slogans from the revolution on the walls of Kafranbel. Source: Live Facebook page.

The group also participated in another campaign to commemorate the revolution’s third anniversary which was organized by the Street for Media and Development group. This campaign focused on the danger of both forms of tyranny, that of the Assad regime and that of al-Qaeda style Islamic fundamentalism, on the revolution. In particular, the campaign took a strong line against the radical Islamist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in an effort to “bring awareness to those those may have inadvertently began to betray the revolution’s early ideals.” These campaigns brought the group several threats from radical Islamist groups which accused them of apostasy, and attempted to vandalize several of their works. 

The town of Kafranbel has had a great role in maintaining hope in the hearts of many fellow Syrians. Its banners became the messengers of Syria’s revolution and told the stories that have often gone unnoticed by media. And its colorful walls, thanks to the hands and toil of the team of “Live”, emerge from the carnage and smoke of war to say that, “there is no outcome but freedom.”

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad