The news out of Syria these days is a barrage of images: destroyed buildings, gruesome casualties, weeping mothers. It's both disturbing and inspiring to a thriving movement of Syrian songwriters, rappers, poets, writers, graffiti artists and actors trying to cope with what's happening around them.
NPR's Kelly McEvers recently attended a performance by Syrian artists in Beirut and sent this report.
This episode of <em>Top Goon</em> featured the Syrian president on the left, a member of the security forces on the right, and a photo of the former president, Hafez Assad, who is the father of the current leader.
"I'm not crazy," the figure says, standing alone in a dark room, as if trying to convince himself.
"I'm not crazy?" almost a question this time.
"I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy!" he yells, finally making up his mind.
And, of course, he sounds crazy.
Meet Beeshu, an avatar of the embattled president of Syria, Bashar Assad, rendered in papier-mache and mounted on someone's finger. He's the star of the show Top Goon and the inspiration for its title.
At least 13 people are dead after a car bomb exploded in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday. The attack comes as Syria's President Bashar al Assad gave no commitment for a ceasefire, blaming the violence in his country on outside interference.
Reporter Rasha Elass in Beirut shares details with our Newscast desk:
"The bomb exploded in front of a police station that overlooks a busy square in Bab Touma, which is a historic Christian quarter in Damascus. It is not yet clear who was responsible for the attack.
The numbers coming out of Syria these days are staggering: hundreds of thousands of refugees, tens of thousands dead. The struggle, and the death, is being captured regularly on social media. The documentation not only serves as a bulletin for foreigners, but also as an alert for those with family members who become victims.
When Syrians first started protesting in March of last year, Fadi Zeidan was there. He and his friends thought the Syrian uprising would be fast, like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt.