The sons of war
A striking night in Paris is like all afternoons in Syria or Iraq. For someone who loves, what's the difference between being in a club in Paris and finding a suicide bomber or being in a mosque, in Raqqa, and being bombed by a drone? Pain is not relative, but absolute. War hurts for everyone. Why do we accept it naturally if it is in the Middle East and outrageously if it is in the City of Light? Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim went to the field with vigorous courage searching for the image of those that are sons of war in Syria, the ones that lost everything, home, family, past, destiny and future. This exhibition is the portrait these people, this conflict's victims, as innocent as the ones of Paris. There image, though, is rare, blurred, lost.
São Paulo is a city that counted with a huge contribution of Syrian and Lebanese immigrants for it's construction. Syrians are our relatives, friends, colleagues. Syrians from over there did not have the same fate of the same Syrians that migrated here. In this historical moment, the greatest threat we live in is not terrorism, but fear. Fear causes a chain reaction with effects even more harmful than terrorism. Fear is the main weapon to create a situation in which its anticipation weapons spirits and weakens people. We all become permanent, not circumstantial victims. Fear robs us of our higher value and pillar of our society: freedom. It's a feeling that also makes us forget of the fraternity with which we build the moments of peace. Fear impoverishes the soul and culture and makes us defensive.
Gabriel Chaim is an example of those that faced this fear in the pursuit of revealing the other side of this story. It seems easy to bomb Syria. Blowing all from above is the sanitary way of not facing the horrors of a war and its consequential traumas. But a war is not won from the air. A war is not won annihilating a population. Each bomb in Aleppo has the counterweight of the force of immigrants arriving in Europe. Each family destroyed creates an orphan ready for revenge. This picture, of the mute side of the Syrian conflict is what we want to show with this exhibition. The conflict that already evolved to a war situation got a different connotation this time. The media war is being completely dominated by the image produced directly or indirectly by ISIS (Islamic State). None of the other elements of this conflict are able to produce an image for it. This lack of images providing a real dimension of what is happening is one of the struggles to understand the scenario.
Gabriel Chaim's photography seeks to humanise what happens on the ground and to open a channel for identification with the other. He frames the context, character and situation and articulate them into pictures that restore the dignity and feeling each individual. He reminds us that people, not populations, were abruptly displaced from its history to an impossible situation. Chaim further captures the pain and intention of each. It is hard to admit that war has its plasticity and is in the imaginary as one of the great inspirations of art. Liberty is something that cannot be explained, but can only be understood when taken. We need to wake for the fact that this war is taking the liberty of us all.