Since the beginning of the uprising against the regime in 2011, Syrians have been using humor as an outlet for their frustration with the international discourse. Reactions to the announcement of the Geneva II Middle East Peace Conference follow the same tune: they mock the hypocrisy of geopolitical interests and the lack of commitment to a solution that meets the Syrian people’s aspirations.
Skepticism towards the conference seems to be a general feeling on the Syrian ground, as shown in the endless messages, photos, videos and cartoons ridiculing its proposals. The fact that the Assad regime would take part in this initiative despite its crimes against humanity, is at the center of popular criticism.
A new Facebook page called Geneva II Wedding, which presents itself as “a forum to mock the Geneva conference”, shares many of those creative manifestations of criticism. The page’s banner is a colorful bus heading to Geneva against a black background.
One of the most shared illustrations shows 16 red chairs around a table that is represented as a water drain. Another one mocks the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi by portraying him in green color, calling on participation in Geneva II with his hands full of 100 dollar bills.
The town of Kafranbel, which has become a symbol of creativity in the face of dictatorship, also had a say on Geneva II. In a video shared by the Kafranbel Media Center, attendants to the conference are represented as butchers covered in blood. The video ends with this message:
Assad’s hands are stained with the Syrian blood. If you are willing to shake his bloody hand, then why does the Hague even exist?
Hop Hop, this bus is going to Geneva. Lots of noise and fuss inside this bus, full of masters who are in a mission to condemn, dressed in fancy suits, ties, and their brand new ‘Eid’ shirts.
“Geneva 2, empty words”, is the name of an image designed by the Syrian artist known as Jawad, which portrays a dialogue symbol coming out of a rifle, against a background that shows the devastation of the country. In a conversation with Syria Untold, the artist said that “Geneva means laughing at Syrians in their faces. Of course we want a political solution, but not through this empty conference with its empty words. It’s too late for empty words.”
In another cartoon, Syrian cartoonist Husam al-Saadi highlights the indifference of political and diplomatic figures to the pain of Syrian mothers. “The international community is responsible for the blood spilled in the country. Had it not been indifferent to the massacres against unarmed protesters in the beginning, we would not be where we are now”, he said to Syria Untold. “All these negotiations and conversations around Syria are nothing but a way to give the criminals more time and prolong the agony of the population.”