A few days ago I wrote this blog post about how it is easier to “sell” a conflict, create interest in it, if it is told through a single person that gets to symbolize what it is all about. I posted youtube clips from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Libya. (I could also have mentioned Neda Agha-Sultan from Iran). I had a link from Syria as well, but it portrayed a group of demonstrators.
Ironically enough, I now have a face to put on Syria.
This used to be 13 year-old Hamza el-Khatib from Daraa (Syria’s Sidibouzid) who went out to demonstrate with his parents against the siege of his city:
That he is no more. As always with Syria, things are not 100 percent verified but it doesn’t really matter. Stories like this get a life of their own, never mind the incubators in my earlier blog post, or the subtle details changing in exactly how everything really started in Sidibouzid in Tunisia.
It has been reported over the last months how people have been tortured and killed – the death toll has now passed 900 – but there has not been one person that got people commenting on twitter in this way and changing their avatars.
Hamza el Khatib was not only killed. He had his penis cut off first. Along with other torture that looks like bruises or cigarette marks. Finally he was executed with a bullet. I thought this through for a long time, but I have decided that it is of journalistic importance to post the footage of his mutilated body. DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT THIS:
This is all too familiar to Egyptians of course, recalling Khaled Said, the one martyr who was the face of the Egyptian revolution. He too, had an innocent-looking portrait that was widely distributed, and made the contrast to the picture of a corpse with the smashed up face even worse.
Blogger Zeinobia has the full story and other links. Today activists reported that Hamza’s father has been abducted.