Syria: Songs of Defiance

Great (and not too long) first-person account from an Al Jazeera journalist that secretly embedded themselves with rebels in Syria.

With Al Jazeera cameras banned inside Syria, it was too difficult and dangerous to openly use a video camera, but he was able to use his mobile phone. With its tiny camera, filming secretly on street corners, through car windows and behind closed doors, he was able to gather images that reveal ordinary people showing extraordinary courage. 

He says: “I was walking through Homs and sniper fire started and I was the only one in the crowd that actually flinched. And a father with his kids was standing by the door and they were sort of laughing at me and pointing, saying ‘why don’t you fall on the floor while you are at it?’ It’s amazing how Syrians, who never heard gunfire because they lived in a very peaceful country, have gotten used so quickly to living in a state of war, how to respond to it. They’ve very quickly become a mobilised revolutionary society, whereas before they had no experience of doing this.

"Despite all this violence and attacks every night there are demonstrations. People come out in defiance. It has become something that they have to do … like they have freedom for just that moment of time. And people will say that they feel depressed if they don’t go out. There’s a phenomenon: late at night, people will yell ‘Allahu Akbar’. Mostly it has become a statement of defiance: ‘We’re still here.’

"And then you’ll hear the gunfire in response … as if to remind them that ‘we’re still here, too’."

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