We are bombarded with images from Syria every day — flashing across our television screens and updating in our Facebook newsfeeds. They are horrific pictures of the carnage left in the aftermath of massacres. It has been over a year now since the beginning of the Syrian uprising and there seems to be no relief from the continuing assaults on the Syrian people. At a time when we risk becoming desensitized to this ongoing horror, it is important to truly see the people in the images playing out in our living rooms, and to be reminded that they are not so worlds-apart from us.
This reminder comes in the heartfelt form of a documentary film titled, “The Light in Her Eyes.” I previously posted about this film, which follows the story of Houda al-Habash, the founder and teacher of an all girls’ Qur’an school in Damascus, Syria. Now, as news of Syria grows more desperate by the day, filmmakers Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix give us hope by reminding North American audiences of the aspirations and desires of several inspiring Syrian women.
Set in Damascus, Syria in the summer of 2010, the 58 min film opens with a group of young girls reciting Qur’an and demonstrating their knowledge of Islam. Houda al-Habash is seen teaching these young girls how to memorize Qur’an and overseeing the progress of teachers and students at a number of mosque summer programs across Damascus. This work isn’t new for Houda who, at the age of 17, opened one of the first Qur’an schools for girls in Syria.