This article is an external contribution to this website, submitted by Hoşeng Hesen, a Kurdish-Syrian journalist from Qamişlo. A picture of Dilîşan Îbiş’ destroyed camera which was posted on Twitter spurred the interest of the project team.
Hoşeng Hesen describes the emotions and experiences he associates with the camera: The violence of the Syrian civil war, the very personal experiences of loss through the death of a colleague and close friend, and the dangers, challenges and everyday difficulties of journalistic work in Syria. However, the contribution is simultaneously an expression of hope and of a great willingness to do everything in one's power for a future peaceful, self-determined life in a democratic and pluralistic society[i]. Last but not least, this contribution wants to give the dead and their belongings the place they deserve.
Hoşeng Hesen's contribution reflects the perspective of a personally and politically involved insider. This led to some discussions within the project team, as the text differs in character from the fundamental ethnographic orientation of the website. One of the controversial issues discussed was whether an object which, at first glance, has nothing to do with the materiality of flight and migration should be placed on this website. It was also debated whether the pathos-laden style and intention of the text move the focus away from the object and rather serve as a kind of martyr's memorial for Dilîşan Îbiş.
Hesen's contribution was nevertheless received as a valuable contribution to this project, as a current voice from the diverse mosaic of voices in the war-torn country.
Sadly, the concerns Hoşeng Hesen voiced in his article regarding a Turkish invasion of north-eastern Syria came true in October 2019. The Turkish army and allied Islamist militias conquered parts of Rojava in the course of an alleged counter-terrorism campaign. According to Amnesty International, 300.000 people were displaced and more than 200 civilians were killed by attacks. There have also been numerous executions of unarmed citizens, like the one of Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf. Moreover, civilians have been abducted and tortured by invading forces.[ii]
These dire developments threaten the only project of democratic self-administration in Syria. And in the wake of this offensive, the so-called- Islamic State has already regrouped again.