Yesterday night, I attended the Houston private screening of National Geographic’s documentary, Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS that took place at the Baker Institute at Rice University.The documentary is directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and best selling author Sebastian Junger and his Emmy -winning film maker partner ,Nick Quested.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria known as ISIS is a Salafi jihadist militant group that operates under the Wahhabi doctrine of Islam. This group became known in 2011 and is still active today . In simpler terms, it is a group of extremist militants. This terrible and shocking phenomenon seems so impossible and complicated to understand. Hell On Earth was an eye opener. ISIS is making headlines all over the world. If you google it, you will see recent news every hour or so…
As mentioned previously, it is not easy to understand exactly how it started , and who are the true opponents. However, the documentary demonstrated different sides of the spectrum, it showed interviews from Syrian civilians, top experts around the world and more ! Let me warn you that most of the footage was raw, alarming and tragic. I think it is necessary to be aware and be educated on what is currently happening in Syria because it affects the rest of the world. Don’t worry, the documentary plans to air globally on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages.
The title is perfect and clearly depicts Syria, there is so much inhumanity on the people there both by the Syrian government and ISIS. Watching Hell on Earth was very challenging, I had to close my eyes for a few seconds on certain scenes. But I’m glad I sat in the theater for 99 minutes because I’m much more informed and I encourage everyone to do the same ! It is insane! It’s shocking to see innocent people die , especially children. Many children did not get the chance to have a childhood, never saw a school and playground. All they know is sufferance. Also, the beheadings and hanging of innocent people.
It is also alarming to see ISIS having the power to brainwash lost individuals around the world and bringing terror anywhere they can.
I also had the chance to attend a post conference hosted by three times Emmy TV News Anchor for ABC-news Houston Chauncy Glover. The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian, Director of Baker Institute and former U.S Ambassador to Syria and Israel was invited to discussion! They both welcomed questions from the audience and Edward Djerejian gave his point of view.
Edward Djerejian emphasizes that what happens in Syria doesn’t stay in Syria. The terror affects nearby regions, Europe, the United States and more nations. The refugees around the world also cause destabilization.
Chauncy Glover: What went wrong and what went right after going to war in Iraq in 2003?
Edward Djerejian : Most of it went wrong. Fundamentally, our military action was great. The occupation which was called the liberation was wrong; we went to dismantle the Iraqi enforcement and the bad party. The disfranchise of the Iraqi military and bad party officials years later began the clan called ISIS. These people ran Iraq, they had so much power, they controlled all the oil industry. These were the people that the U.S went after. They were able to invade other territories.
Chauncy Glover: What was the most aggravating part of the documentary?
Edward Djerejian: The children. You can see the post traumatic stress, the strain and challenges that these people faced in order to survive.
Djerejian adds that the problem that the Middle East faced for many years is the lack of good government. The quest for freedom in Syria started in 2011, when the people had enough. It began by a young man and provoked ongoing protests against the President Bashar Al Assad regime.
We yearn to know if there will be an end. ISIS is losing territory in the Middle East which is good, however the terror around the world is still ongoing. ISIS has been and still recruiting people around the world with the aid of social media. They are able to brainwash many individuals. This is a group of extremist and according to them, they are killing in the name of Allah. Thus, wherever they are, they can still cause terror. We have seen killings here in the U.S, Britain, France just to name a few.
There have been many theories on how to stop this complicated phenomenon. Continuous education on this matter for all of us is needed, we need to be aware and pray for an end. Realistically speaking, it is not going to happen overnight. However, there is hope of course. Foreign policies are being created all the time. One can make a difference by being informed about who they are voting for and what the candidate stands for especially when voting in a presidential election.
As a lifestyle blog, I blog about anything I find valuable and I felt the need to cover this important topic. I enjoyed learning more about it and I hope that anyone reading this tunes in this Sunday, June 11th, 9/8c on the National Geographic Channel.