Fadwa Suleiman in 2003
|Born||17 May 1970|
|Died||17 August 2017 (aged 47)|
|Occupation||Actress; voice artist|
Fadwa Souleimane (also transcribed as Fadwa Soliman or Fadwa Suleiman; 17 May 1970 – 17 August 2017) was a Syrian actress of an Alawite descent who led a Sunni-majority protest against Bashar al-Assad's government in Homs. She became one of the most recognized faces of the Syrian Civil War.
Born in Aleppo, Soliman moved to the capital Damascus to pursue an acting career where she performed in numerous plays, Maria's Voice and Media, and in at least a dozen TV shows, including in The Diary of Abou Antar and Little Ladies. She also played an art teacher at an orphanage in "Small Hearts," a television series that helped raise awareness about human organ trafficking and was broadcast by several Arab channels. She also acted in an Arabic adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" at the Qabbani theater in Damascus.
Role in Syrian uprising
Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, Soliman was one of the few outspoken actresses against Assad's government. Knowing her fate could be death or prison, Soliman wanted to participate in the demonstration to dispel what she said was public perception that all in the Alawite community, which comprised around 10 per cent of the Syrian population, supported the government of fellow Alawite Bashar al-Assad. She also wanted to dismiss the government's narrative that those who participated in protests were either Islamists or armed terrorists. She appeared at rallies demanding Assad's removal, sharing the podium with soccer star Abdelbasset Sarout, one of a number of other Syrian celebrities who backed the revolt.
Soliman also delivered impassioned monologues to camera, calling for peaceful protests to continue across the country until Assad was overthrown. “Sectarian violence in Homs would be worse if it weren’t for Fadwa Soliman,” says Peter Harling, Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, the think tank. “She has tried to contain the damage among Alawites who have been hijacked by the regime.”
In one video message in 2011, Soliman said security forces were searching Homs neighborhoods for her, and beating people to force them to reveal her hiding place. She cut her hair short like a boy, and moved from house to house to evade capture. In 2012, she fled with her husband via Lebanon and moved to France, where they resided in Paris.
On August 17, 2017, Soliman died of cancer in exile in Paris, aged 47.
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- Who's who: Fadwa Suleiman. The Syrian Observer. 28 December 2015.
- Basma Atassi (23 November 2011) "Q&A: Syria's daring actress", Al Jazeera.
- Khaled Yacoub Oweis (5 January 2012) "Syrian actress treads new stage in Syrian protests", Reuters.
- Amrutha Gayathri (March 31, 2012) "Fadwa Suleiman: Actress And Alawite Icon Of Syrian Revolt Warns Of Sectarian Violence", International Business Times.
- Deborah Pasmantier (30 March 2012) "Actress icon of Syrian revolt warns of sectarian warfare", Agence France-Presse.
- Mohamed Abi Samra (16 February 2012) "Fadwa Suleiman: une pasionaria syrienne", Courrier International.
- Hala Kodmani (24 décembre 2011) "Fadwa Suleiman, pasionaria de Homs", Libération.
- "Fadwa Suleiman et ses espoirs pour la Syrie", Euronews, 27 March 2012.
- "Message to Canada by actor Fadwa Soliman from inside Syria.", YouTube, 2 December 2011.
- Roula Khalaf (21 March 2012) "Alawites trapped in existential struggle", Financial Times.
- "Fadwa Sulayman syrian actress announces a hunger strike", YouTube, 14 November 2011.
- "Täuschungsversuch mit kleinen Freiheiten". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Syrian actress who rallied crowds against Assad dies". Apnews.com. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- Media related to Fadwa Sulaiman at Wikimedia Commons