TrendsRuqia Hassan: freedom through social media

Livia Del Pino8 years ago6 min


Social media are a weapon. But who they are loyal to? Good or bad? Surely they are a powerful information tool and a peerless way of expression. According to the Old Testament “pen is mightier than sword”: today we talk about keyboards and Wi-Fi. Opinions and hopes are dangerous. That’s why Ruqia Hassan was killed by Isis.

Nisam Ibraihm: Ruqia Hassan for her motherland

Ruqia Hassan was an independent journalist from Raqqa, the Syrian city that is considered the capitol of Isis. She studied Philosophy in Aleppo, and she opposed the regime of Bashar al-Assad in 2011. She didn’t leave the motherland then, and she didn’t either when Daesh occupied it afterwards. Under the name of Nisan Ibrahim, she was publishing articles about life under the dictatorship of the Islamic State. She disappeared last July, and was killed in September, accused of espionage. The news was released this week. The first woman journalist killed in Syria by jihadists.

Facebook: the dignity of a post

On her Facebook profile, Ruqia Hassan shared thoughts and hopes. From translations found online, the words of the 30 years old woman seem light and lyrical, almost melancholic, with a hint of irony and absolute immediacy. But also braveness and pure realism. When on July 15 the Coalition bombed Isis, she shared  a prayer on Facebook: “God protect the civilians and take the rest.” That’s how life in Raqqa is known, through the words of Ruqia.

“People at the souq [market] are like waves crashing into each other… not because of the numbers… but because people’s eyes are glued to the sky… their eyes move above in fear while their bodies move unconsciously below.”

The last post was published the 21st of July, and express the fear of an imminent danger, that doesn’t scare her too much: “I’m in Raqqa and I have received death threats, and when ISIS (arrests) me and kills me it’s ok because they will cut my head and I have dignity– it’s better than living in humiliation with ISIS.”

Social, a weapon to fight for freedom

But this is not the last activity on her profile. After kidnapping and murdering her, Jihadists kept on using her secretly, answering to private messages trying to find eventual spies.

But social networks are able to give a very strong answer. In less than a week, more than 2 million reaches were registered on Twitter for the hashtag #RuqiaHassan. On Facebook a page for this young Syrian has been created and her profile is full of solidarity messages.

Ruqia Hassan wrote: “Go ahead and cut off the internet, our carrier pigeons won’t complain,”

Her irony was the strongest communication weapon she had and social media a huge and unique opportunity to share and spread. This is what we’ll keep in our hearts. Thanks Ruqia.

Ruqia Hassan

Livia Del Pino

Rifletto spesso sull'onesta reazione di Mark Twain a una domanda insidiosa: "I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know". Inseguo la conoscenza, chimera irraggiungibile, convinta che la bellezza sia proprio nel viaggio.

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