Syrian actress treads new stage in Syrian protests

Thu Jan 5, 2012 10:24am EST
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By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian actress Fadwa Suleiman says she was drawn to a life in drama because of its promise of freedom.

Disillusioned at the level of state control even in theater and film, she joined protests last year against President Bashar al-Assad and now takes the stage at demonstrations in the city of Homs, center of resistance to his family's four-decade rule.

Cutting her hair short like a boy and moving from house to house to evade capture, Suleiman has become one of the most recognized faces of the 10-month uprising against Assad.

She played no part in the early demonstrations that broke out in March, but a deep-seated rebellious streak - which only increased when she joined the state-run High Conservatory for Theater Arts - drew her toward the protests.

"I chose to study theater because I thought theater means freedom to think and to express oneself," Suleiman told Reuters in a Skype interview from Homs.

Describing her time at the conservatory, which like most culture in Syria is controlled by the state, she said she slowly discovered that "my country wants to drain every culture and content from its citizens."

"I became opposed to the way we work, to the humiliation, the degradation in human interaction. Everywhere you go, even a theater or a film company, you feel you have entered a security branch," she said.

"Authors write the worst scripts but they are chosen because they have links to security."   Continued...

<p>Syrian Alawite actress Fadwa Suleiman speaks to Reuters in an interview over Skype from an undisclosed location in Homs December 14, 2011. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji</p>