A 15 Year-Old Boy Is Using Selfie Videos To Show The Horrors Of The Syria War

The amount of backlash our generation has received over selfies just keeps getting worse. For the most part, millennials use their phones and selfies to showcase fun little snippets of their lives. The teenagers of Syria are no different. Alas, the snippets of their everyday lives are fraught with destruction and terror. Not something you’d want to ‘like’, ‘share’ or ‘comment’ on. But you absolutely need to.

Muhammad Najem, a 15-year-old boy from the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus, Syria, has been harnessing the power of selfie videos and social media to make the world aware of the devastating realities of war haunting his everyday life.

The conflict in Syria, which began almost seven years ago in 2011 as an uprising against their President, Bashar al-Assad, eventually manifested into a full-fledged civil war with a death toll in hundreds of thousands. Fueled by international powers such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, the war between the Syrian government and rebel forces trying to overthrow them has one bloodied ledger under its name.

Najem’s videos and selfies paint a terrifying picture of the horrors of war endured by him and his neighbourhood. And death and destruction make a frequent cameo in all of them.

As the people stuck in the rebel-controlled parts of Eastern Ghouta struggle for their survival in underground shelters, they’re often reminded of how fickle and invaluable their lives are in the face of the war.

Like the time Najem lost a friend to an airstrike.

Can you imagine living amidst so much death and despair? To watch your friends and their families wiped out in a moment, leaving you all alone? For Najem, that’s just another day.

Only those who have lived the war understand the value of peace. Najem posted yet another picture with a friend injured during the air raid on their neighbourhood. And yet, all he wishes for others is peace….

Have you ever seen or heard a teenager desperate to go to school and study? But for children like Najem, going to school is a distant dream that will only be realised when the war is over.

Till then, he runs errands for his mother and documents this sad state of affairs that every kid like him is going through.

Najem dreams about finishing his education and becoming a reporter one day. But the war has destroyed the very place that could help him realise this dream… his school.

Airstrikes, bombings and debris falling from the sky are a disturbingly regular occurrence in Eastern Ghouta, which has become one of the bloodiest chapters in this seven-year Syrian war. And Najem has managed to capture the essence of it with his simple yet stark pictures and tweets.

Eastern Ghouta, being a rebel-controlled region, often experiences airstrikes from Russian and Syrian planes.

Najem even shared a video of a barrel from a Russian aircraft falling on his house.

As his videos and pictures steadily go viral, people are increasingly concerned about his well-being. Najem’s updates keep pouring in, from an underground shelter that lacks basic amenities like water!

Remember Albus Dumbledore’s quote from Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban? Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times. If only one remembers to turn on the light. Well, Najem and many others like him still manage to find their little moments of light amidst all the darkness and terror.

Syria has now lost countless lives forever to a never-ending war. Despite the outrage, despite the media coverage, despite the startling pictures that surface every single day, the destruction has become a common sight. Nobody may put it in those exact words, but ‘just another bombing/attack’ is the order of the day about Syria.

And this is exactly what Najem is trying to prevent with his live tweeting of his war-ravaged country. He urges people to open their eyes and save them before it is too late.

Everyone’s talking about saving the younger generation from the dangers of selfies. And then there’s Najem’s efforts to turn the selfie into an SOS message. There’s no doubt which one is a priority.

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