Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Television Idea

This is one of my ideas for a television show. I have submitted it to one production house and was turned down. I am in the midst of researching different production houses to see where it might fit. Please contact me with ideas or suggestions.

Proposal: Urfalee Project

“Americans know less about Eastern Christianity than they do about Islam, and they don’t know anything about Islam.”
-Dr. Sidney Griffith, The Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, The Catholic University of America

To many Americans saturated by sensationalized Western journalism, Syria is little more than a terror-supporting member of the so-called "Axis of Evil.” To the Aramaic-speaking Urfalees who belong to the dwindling Christian community of St. George’s Church, Syria is a refuge for their ancient Christian traditions, stretching back thousands of years to the dawn of the Christian era. Syria’s Orthodox Christian minority has not only persevered, but flourished, in a region of the world plagued by civil, religious and ethnic strife fueled by fundamentalism, international wars and terrorism.

• How has this small sect of Eastern Christianity survived in a 90% Muslim land?
• And how does the nation of Syria make this unique situation possible?

On August 14th I met with the Syrian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Imad Moustapha, and was enthusiastically granted permission and support from the embassy and government to explore Syria’s surprisingly strong Muslim-Christian relations. I have also established an excellent relationship with the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, who has given his blessings to the project, thereby opening many doors into the actual workings of the church in Syria.

I plan to further gain insight into this multifarious topic by going to Syria and interviewing the individuals who belong to the church community, as well as several important Syrian figures, including:

• Archbishop Mor Gregorius Yohanna Ibrahim, Metropolitan of Allepo
• The Grand Mufti of the Republic, Dr. Sheikh Ahmad Badruddin Hassoun
• President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad

I will also attempt to get a feel for the rhythms of life in Syria, focusing primarily on how the Syriac Christians live, maintaining their distinct identity inside the norms of life in a Muslim-dominated society. Among the distinctive practices are not only their church services, so different from Muslim worship, but also through more personal aspects, such as the folk songs and festivities unknown to the bulk of the Syrian community.

A program featuring my research and experiences with the Syriac Orthodox communities would not only be entertaining, but could also help the American public learn a great deal about our own social (mis)understandings and biases about the rest of the world. Such a program would be unique, blending Syria’s history, land, and religion with candid conversation between a young American, Syria’s leadership and the people of this unique land.


Blogger God of Wine said...

Hmmm, after posting a somewhat negative post I have to say I admire you for this endeavor. Now if you can only open diplomatic relations with them via you as the conduit between Bushamerica and Syria. Oh yeah world peace would be nice too....

1/12/2007 2:43 AM  

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