Syria 2012 sees rise of citizen journalism

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His name is Abou Dabbak, he greeted us on our first day in Syria with jokes and laughs… but in his serious days, he is the guy who shouts Allah Akbar whenever he’s taking these shots.

Armed with a rifle and camera, he accompanies the rebels, looks for confrontation fronts, risks his life but keeps his eyes on the target: filming the military operations.

Abou Dabbak is a cameraman and a media activist that’s been covering the violence the regime has been committing towards civilians.

“When I hear the shots while filming the free army, my heart dances of joy.”

He lost many of his relatives and family members but he’s not backing up. He was wounded three times, once while taking these shots of a missile falling next to him.

“In the battle field, many people fell next to me, one is wounded, another just lost his leg… a state of desperation.”

His morale faints for a while…then at the site of this group of fighters, Abou Dabbak is enthusiast again, he asks about the timing of the next operation, and gets ready.

Before the revolution, Abou Dabbak was a laborer, and he will become a laborer after that…his life doesn’t give him enough space for dreaming.

When he was asked about his dreams, Abou Dabbak was not optimistic to answer.

“What’s my dream? I don’t know how to answer you. I might get killed. Everything here is surrounded by death. Those who are outside might be able to dream, but here in Syria, there is no place for the dreams.”

Abou Dabbak leads us to the media center…these youngsters are the ones who made the revolution. for more one year and a half, the international media was banned from entering Syria, but Ahmad Noor, the university student, and Ahmad Maarouf, a mathematics teacher, and hundreds of young Syrians filled the gap.

Maarouf said they started out with using mobile phones to share with the world what was happening.
“We didn’t have any camera.”

Noor said he never thought he would ever become part of covering his country’s revolution.

“During the security grip on us in Syria we were not using the internet. The internet was always controlled, I didn’t have one. They used to ask for the identity to know who’s accessed the internet.”

Maarouf said having access to share what’s happening inside the country made the regime feel pressured and stopped history from repeating.

“If we were not part of the revolution, nobody would have known what’s happening on the ground. In 1980s nobody knew what happened, some said that 50 thousand persons were killed, others said 150 thousand, and others said 200 thousand. He destroyed Hamah in full but there was no internet, and now, if it wasn’t for these activists, it would have been like the 1980s.”

The Syrian youth broke free from the chains of silence and are committed to spread the truth regardless of the high price they will have to pay. They told me a lot about their dreams and aspirations for their country, but when I left them they gave the impression that we will not meet again, as the fronts are hot and they have the mission of record it.

A big number of rebels chose to bear arms, but many chose this weapon: it is the camera in all forms and types, and they just needed the internet to tell the world what’s happening in their home country.

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