WhatsApp-ing to Syria

A few months ago, when I was working in Tovarnik, on the Serbia / Croatia border, I met some incredible Syrian guys, many of whom I’ve stayed in touch with as they’ve continued their journeys across Europe.

Yesterday one of them told me about his friend who works for the media back home in Syria. He wanted us to connect, as he told me this friend had very important information to pass on to me…

We started chatting on Whats-App. He lives in Damascus and is attempting to document the situation there.

He sent me pictures he had taken…

They made me cry.


He told me there was no one left, many of his friends, his brother, so many innocent people cruelly taken from him, and the others had fled before their lives were taken too.


What do you say to someone who is sending you pictures he has personally taken of children buried by rubble? Of a plane that drops bombs on his home on a daily basis, the bombs visibly falling in the shot.


This Whats-App conversation looked strange between other chats with my friends about the weekend and Christmas.

The images shocked me each time I found them in my camera roll.


I just can’t get my head around the fact that this is happening now…

This isn’t something I’ve seen in a film or read in a history book. It’s not like the Holocaust or concentration camps, things I look back on in horror and disbelief that they ever really happened, that normal people actually allowed them to.

This is happening right now. We’re those normal people…