PocketPictures2011 – Damascus, Syria

It must have been the 2nd or 3rd of April. 2011. I took the bus from Beirut to Damascus. The Syrian spring, as it was referred to in those days of optimism, started 3 weeks earlier and the first demonstrations had been broken down, causing the first fatalities. This realization makes me nervous while I cross the border into Syria and arriving in Damascus I instantly feel the oppressed atmosphere in an oppressed state. I talk to young Syrians who do not dare to criticize the regime and their answer to my questions is most of the time something along the lines of ‘Assad is our leader and Syria doesn’t have any problems’.

Because of this atmosphere and the stories I hear about the regime’s secret service I perceive the daily reality in Damascus very differently and I feel nervous about taking photos of that daily reality. That is why I walk around, my camera loosely dangling from my hand, taking pictures without people noticing. The result is a series of pictures that show an exciting, almost scary, reality.

March 15, 2014 is the moment the Syrian uprising celebrates its 3 year anniversary. I believe that these pictures and the story behind them illustrate what young Syrians are protesting against and why the Syrian Spring started almost 3 years ago. That struggle for dignity, freedom and a bright future is ongoing. We should not forget that.

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