When Syria was admitted to the "Axis of Evil", I decided to move there, alone, to record ordinary life and create a document to stimulate healthy curiosity about this Arab community to counter the vilification that dominated the media and White House rhetoric. Syria's intricate dance between tradition and modernity reveals itself as a range of sensual and amusing characters discuss dating, marriage, education, art, politics and religion. People are kind and educated. A myriad of different religions and sects co-exist harmoniously. As the country is left in a diplomatic vacuum the government becomes less progressive and the fear of radical Islam grows. A writer blames the government for using fear of religious extremists to control society. A government minister identifies the rise of Islam as a response to external pressures against Arabs. She concludes that the current political climate encourages Islamic extremists and undermines moderate voices. As it lyrically spins a tale of contemporary Syrian life, TEA gives voice and face to this moderate majority.
- Written by Jean Marie Offenbacher