Thank You

There’s something on my mind I can’t sort without putting it in words. I feel extremely uncomfortable about it and it almost makes me sick. Yeah, it happens sometimes and that means I’m not a complete sociopath.

This is a problem about journalists, reporters, and each and every people that do everything they can to report news. I have no problems with any of them, and most of them are doing an incredible job.

They’re risking their life on a daily basis in Syria, and today that’s two of them being killed after broadcasting live from Homs and they probably were good at doing their jobs, yesterday one the citizen journalist was killed too, and that’s just the one reporting the news from the field.

My problem is about the ‘what can we do’. With the telecomix cluster and the opsyria volunteers, we are, most of us, sitting in our offices, speaking to media or other stuff like that. We always try to have fun, because else we won’t be able to manage all this crap, but we never were on the field.

We have some contacts there, and some of them have disappeared for a while. That’s how we can feed our different news publishing sites, but we do not put our lives in danger (yeah, we learned that life is a video-game with only one credit).

Sometimes journalists come on our chans asking us for advices. They’re asking if they can go in Syria. And we don’t know how to answer.

Either we spare their life, the one of the fixer they’ll have over there, and the ones of the people they’ll meet but then we play the game of Assad: encouraging black-out of information on the field, or we just tells them stay safe, use strong encryption, do not have notes or rush that can identify people.

But all those advices are good as long as you’re not in a city blindly shelled night and day for weeks. And we see the people dying there, trying to grab testimony and doing their jobs. We’re just archivists, we try to keep all the data we can found in perspective, but without those amazing people on the ground (whether they’re citizen journalists, or professional and international field reporters) we wouldn’t be able to do this.

Last week, I was at a lecture to discuss about the interaction between hackers and NGO, and someone asked me:

What are your plans for Syria now?

I don’t fucking know. I have no idea. We maintain our systems of communication, but when you’re under heavy shelling without electricity or food or water for days, it’s of no use. I have no fucking clue of what we can do. We are not meant to go on the field.

I see no hope of a peaceful resolution, and now that Assad’s forces have been ordered to assassinate journalists I do not even see how it is possible.

I do not know what to say. Journalists must get there, it’s mandatory to know what’s happening there, but they will get assassinated.

I will stand for freedom in Syria. We, as humans, need to know what’s happening there, not for any macabre voyeur thing, but for being able to be a witness, to be of any help for them.

So, to all the people that puts their life at stake to brings informations out of Syria, I want to say Thank You. You’re not alone, you won’t be forgotten. Continue your amazing job. Report. Try to stay reasonably safe, but it has no meaning in a battlefield. The violence must not kill the information. If you need any help to hide your communication or to establish more or less safe one, get in touch with us.

And to all the redactors out there or to all the editors of content that sometimes remove stuff like that from the intertubes, we’re watching you. You know what’s happening there. You must speak about it.

Thank You. Really.

Addendum: The Express