In 2011 a series of uprisings and protests later known as the "Arab Spring" swept through many countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East. While in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia and Yemen authoritarian rulers were forced from power, the Assad-Clan was able to sustain their Autocracy over Syria through state terrorism against protesters and activists. By the summer of 2011, the protests had escalated into an all out civil war, which was one of the main reasons behind the refugee crisis of 2015. As of today, the Assad-Regime still controls over 60% of the syrian territory, including Homs and Damascus
Starting in 2011, the Syrian government detained tens of thousands of Syrians without trial for periods of weeks, months or even years. While they were incarcerated, the prisoners were subjected to prolonged interrogations and systematic torture. Many of these prisoners were tortured to death.
These events only became known, through the acts of a syrian military photographer code-named "Caesar" and his activist friend code-named "Sami". Caesar was tasked by the syrian military with
documenting the dead bodies via photograph. Faced with the horrors of his task, he secretly contacted his friend Sami, and together they made plans to collect as much evidence of these crimes as
possible. In 2013 they defected to europe with more than 50000 photos of the victims. Ever since then, Caesar and Sami have been living in hiding under witness protection in northern europe.
Despite their Caesars and Samis great effort and sacrifice, the international communities response was lackluster. While exhibits of the grueling evidence have caused some outrage among the
public, the effort to effectively sanctionize the Assad-Regime was blocked in the UN-council by the vetos of both China and Russia.
In 2015 the french journalist Garance Le Caisne published her book Opération César: Au coeur de la machine de mort syrienne
which contains Caesars story up to this point, as well as interviews with surviving prisoners. Based on her book, Garance and french film maker Stéphane Malterre continued the story of Caesar and Sami in form of a documentary.
When the film began to enter its final production stage in 2020, Raffael and I were asked to score the project.