The Syrian Civil War

So, the United States started a war in Iraq and, as a result of that war, local and regional destabilization kicked off.

The crazy head honcho next door to  Iraq in Syria, decided it would be a good idea to destabilize his own country and start a civil war because he wasn’t gonna get taken out like Sadaam or Ghaddafi.

Hello, Dear Leader.

The result of such destabilization—known in non-fancy, non-academic circles, as “war”—is that, of course, as bombs start falling, social services start falling apart and healthcare becomes even more of a privilege than it usually is.

Into this breach stepped Dr. Amani and her secret underground hospital in Syria that she started and ran from 2012 to 2018.

The Line Between Good and Evil Runs Through Every Human Heart

From National Geographic Films, in partnership with Disney +, and Directed by Ferras Fayyad (Last Men In Aleppo) this thing was produced by a goo-gaggle of people including Danish Documentary Films’ Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær, Eva Mulvad, Pernille Rose Grønkjær, and Mikala Krogh.

The film documents Dr. Amani and a group of, mostly women, who run an underground hospital (secret caves and entrances and all), in spite of chemical warfare, bombing, and conventional and unconventional warfare tactics.

Yes. Civil wars are hell when one side has all the devastating weaponry.

The Cave—not to be confused with the documentary of the same name about the Thai kids trapped underground which will also be out later this year—shows a couple of interesting set pieces and moments in the trailer, but the most telling is at the 1:08 mark:

Are we kidding?

I don’t think that this conversation really happened.

Nor do I believe that 30-year old Dr. Amani’s primary goal in running this underground hospital in spite of the falling bombs, was to make a point about “patriarchy.”

This woman was an aspiring pediatrician before her world went to hell because the one guy running her country got all paranoid about the American military presence next door.

No matter what the director might be saying:

“While I was detained by the Syrian regime for a critical film I made, I witnessed the suppression and torturing of women, an inhuman shameless pride of cruelty, in prison. Not only because they were prisoners but because they were women. I also observed one of the most atrocious war crimes in modern history when the Syrian regime used chemical weapons to attack Al Ghouta in 2013. These experiences were shockingly frightening and unforgettable, but even worse, the rest of the world looked on silently,” said Fayyad in a statement.

Critiquing the Patriarchy is Easy When They’re Over There

Critique the patriarchy of a peaceful religion one day. Avoid getting a haircut the next.

On the one hand, inspiring stories of the triumph of human potential over extreme odds are everywhere—even in Syria—and are worth telling.

I particularly believe that if you’re saving kids, it’s something that should be shown, because life can be nasty, brutal, and short.

On the other hand, I don’t need to be preached to about the sins of the “patriarchy” by a bed-headed Oscar-nominated director, who doesn’t even have the guts to critique in person, and on the ground, another entire set of cultural and religious beliefs that are clearly repressive and not about peace at all.

And, of course, surrounding his brave critique inside of the easy position of “ALL war is hell.”

Because, y’know, the US’s “unjust” war in Iraq was the real problem in all of this all along.

After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, The Cave will be released in select theatres and potentially on Disney+ sometime this Fall.