As the brutal crackdown in Syria continues and as foreign journalists continue to have limited access to the country, one activist has taken it upon himself to document the violence happening around him.
“This is the life we got used to ... children dead in the streets,”
Danny Abdul Dayem, 22, says in a video filmed in Homs and posted to YouTube Wednesday, his voice shaking. “Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?”
Despite Russia’s assurances that President Bashar al-Assad wants the violence to stop, the government shelled Homs on Wednesday for the sixth day, killing nearly 50 people. Sixty were reported dead on Tuesday.
Foor the last month, Dayem has posted dozens of videos to his YouTube account, most of them filmed on the streets of Homs and many very difficult to watch.
Dayem joins the ranks of many citizen journalists who have played an important role in spreading information about the Arab Spring, and ultimately, in pressuring their leaders to stpe down.
In countries like Syria, with limited access for foreign journalists, YouTube videos and other information from activists have often been relied on to tell the story. During the Egyptian uprising, Al-Jazeera's citizen media service Sharek received about 1,000 cameraphone videos, according to the Guardian.
The work of one Libyan citizen journalist, videographer Mo Nabbous, spread across the world after Nabbous was killed on camera. Nabbous had been trying to capture footage of the violence for his Livestream news channelLibya al Hurra, in the hopes it would inspire the international community to take action.
Dayem has the same goal in mind. On Monday, he told al-Jazeera the city was under “non-stop bombing with rockets, mortar bombs and tank shells ... I saw with my own eyes kids with no legs, and a kid who lost his whole bottom jaw. It is terrible,” he said.
Yet Dayem keeps recording videos, including one recorded in a field hospital in Homs in which he stands next to the body of a little girl reportedly killed by government forces. “Is this what the U.N. is waiting for?” he asks.
In another video, this time not filmed by Dayem, he can be seen dragging a wounded man to shelter after security forces opened fire. (WARNING: Contains graphic images.)
Last week, the Guardian reported that Dayem himself was recovering from a bullet wound believed to be from government security forces.
Dayem’s parents say that while their son used to be a happy-go-lucky business-management student, he now spends his days filming the violence or gathering food, money and medication for other protesters.
“I watched Danny transform from a boisterous fun-loving boy to a quiet, withdrawn man,” his mother Helen told the Guardian,
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