Today the airwaves are filled with the Syrian dialect.
Syria is once again producing most of the Arab World’s Ramadan television. A quick flick through the channels shows Syrian series on almost every channel. From the classical Arabic history dramas on Moroccan TV, to the comedies on Tunisian TV and the challenging socio-political dramas on TV stations in the Gulf.
Ramadan has begun across the world. It is the Muslim holy month of fasting. The evenings are lit up with food and musalsalaat – the TV series which run every day through the month.
30 episodes are produced, starting at the beginning of the month, and climaxing just before Eid. And they don’t stray away from tough subjects.
Syria’s ‘Gazelles in the forest of Wolves’ deals with poverty, abuse of women, and independence.
Damascus is one of the Arab World’s most active TV production centres. More than 100 private companies operate here, it’s considered something of a creative centre. And they are given relatively free reign to produce what they like.
The Heathens tackles terrorist attacks – with the action shifting from city to city.
Egypt, the traditional entertainment heavyweight, is producing 50 series – Syria has created 45. But look at the figures here: Syria has sold rights to all of its programmes, Egypt was struggling to sell half of them last week.
And looking at the quality of production, it is clear that much has improved over the last year in Syria. Egyptian production, while still one of the most important, is criticised for sloppy technical detail.
And Syria is entering new markets like Morocco, by producing dramas in classical Arabic, where the Syrian dialect is not widely understood.