Fulbright Scholar Killed While Filming in Syria
|June 1, 2012|
On May 28, 2012, a young Syrian activist, Bassel Shahade, was killed by Assad regime forces while teaching film and editing techniques to other young activists in Homs. Shahade played an important role in transmitting footage in Syria to the outside world, while he was concurrently pursuing an MFA in Film at Syracuse University as a Fullbright scholar.
Despite the regime’s claims that the opposition is primarily composed of Islamic extremists, Shahade was a member of the Christian minority, and strongly believed in deposing Assad from power. Shahade decided to leave Syracuse University to return to his native Syria, where he took an active role in capturing the uprisings. He traveled throughout Syria training other activists how to capture and film the regime’s violence.
Although he lived in Damascus, Shahade was buried in Homs because the regime barred his friends from transporting his body. Additionally, United Nations observers could not secure transportation for his body. Shahade’s friends and other anti-regime activists are devastated by his death, especially because of Shahade’s crucial role in ensuring a flow of information coming out of Syria.
Shahade’s friends created a Facebook page in his memory, and many Syrian cities have held ceremonies in his honor. In response to their support, security forces stormed the main church in Damascus where Shahade’s family and friends held a prayer for him. The security forces arrested some in attendance, while others posted about the incident on Twitter.
شبيحة النظام تقوم بتمزيق نعوات الشهيد باسل شحادة من على جدران مدينة دمشق #"Assad’s thugs are tearing down Bassel’s death notices from the walls in the Damascus."
Milia Eidmouni @Milia1
"Two young men and one girl were arrested at Bassel Shahade’s funeral. They are author Kifah Dib, Batoul Nayouf, and another guy named Hussam. Anyone know the names of others?"
"Don’t go to the Shahade family’s house. Their house is surrounded by security and the security are checking everyone’s ID. They have arrested five guys so far."