Secondary Research – Real Life Stories from Syria

Secondary Research

Part of my secondary research is finding stories to help inspire me to create a script that is built up of truth.

Video Clips – news, charity and documentary 

‘Migration to Europe – Why Now?‘ – BBC news – September 10th 2015

In this news segment it shows why Syrian people are migrating to Europe. This will of been shown on the BBC news channel to educate people what is happening and why. It gives animation and real clips of what is happening. However, it doesn’t give the whole truth and doesn’t show the extreme clips. It just shows videos of children who look happy and are playing in the refugee camps. This could be seen as making the public ‘see’ non of the bad parts of the camps. Although they are talking about the overcrowding, the lack of jobs and a rise in extreme poverty, a lot of people need a visual aid to actually know what is going on. Seeing it makes people remember more.



‘Migrant Crisis: The Facts’ – BBC News – September 3rd 2015

In this video it describes the facts about immigration. A lot of people have complaints about this video as it ignores a lot of the reasons why people chose to immigrate. It doesn’t show the realism of the problems they have and why they chose to leave. I don’t think this is a very effective news clip because I don’t think it’s 100% truthful.

The purpose is to educate audiences. I don’t think it reaches the full purpose though as it misses out facts about the actual people. For example why they are seeking asylum and what there life was like before they left. I think this video also puts refugees in a negative light. This is because they refer to them as migrants instead of refugees which is what the Syrian people are in this situation.



‘What’s happened to Syrian’s people?’ – Wall Street Journal 

In this news cast it show real life clips of what is happening in Syria. Normally, the news wouldn’t show the clips they use with violence and upsetting images. By using these, it explains what is really going on. The media can block these images out of the media, not showing the real stories. Within this video I can start to see stories come through and the problems that are happening within Syria. A lot of the clips are actually filmed by Syrian people, instead of news camera men/women.

The purpose of this video is to educate audiences on the reasons the violence is happening. In my opinion this video is more educational then the BBC news casts. Although they try to be neutral about what is happening, by not giving sides but facts, they still refer to them as asylum seekers instead of illegal immigrants. This shows them as people that actually need help then just referring to them as doing something illegal.


‘The War of the World’ – BECOMING YOUTUBE 

Becoming Youtube is an internet series about the online community. In this episode, it talk about the problems in Syria. The two people presenting, Jack Howard and Ben Cook, are both ‘famous’ on youtube. By them making the video, it get their fans to watch and learn about what’s going on. A large percentage of their audiences are teenage girls. The video starts with a ‘funny’ fictional segment, drawing people in. When you start to watch it, you get draw in as it is acted and not taken seriously. Again, this will draw younger people into the video, which is good because it gets younger people more involved with the problems in the world. It then transports into a real documentary. I think this documentary is successful because it’s an independent documentary. This means that it was made by them with their own with there own research.

Furthermore, it was in association with ‘Oxfam’ – the charity. Therefor, the documentary created is make an impact on audiences and tell the story of what really is happening. This might not happen in news reports or documentaries online. This is because of the media holding back certain aspects of news because of political, social and economical reason. As this is an appeal documentary, it will show the hardships of the people and what they are going through. This will make audiences want to donate money to help them. They show interviews with Syrian refugees to help tell a story.

On the other hand, a lot of people think that charity videos are over exaggerated to get people to donate money. Audiences think this because a lot of charity adverts use emotive language and videos/pictures that will make you feel guilty. However, I think this short documentary is truthful and not over exaggerated. They have to hide a lot of the really troubling videos as a lot of the people watching are young teenagers that might be effected by the footage.


‘Please help a refugee child survive: Give to the CARE international refugee TV appeal – TV advert.’  – Care International UK

This a TV and online advert, trying to get people to donate money to refugees .The purpose of this video is to get people to donate their money, rather then educate audiences. It uses emotive language and clips. By using children, it will make people more likely to donate. This is because using footage of sad or hurt children creates a primeval instinct that makes you want to protect them. Using children in adverts normally are a successful way of getting donations.



Conclusion of Section

I think the most useful resources were ones that were linked to charities. Although they only showed the ‘worst’ of the problems. The news hides a lot of stories from the public. This is because a lot of the problems are caused by the UK and other countries that are linked to the UK. If they were to tell the whole truth, they can get in a lot of trouble from the goverment  or other countries. This is because news channels have to be ‘neutral’ and give every side to the public. Furthermore, news sites like the BBC are tax run channels. This means the public pays for the news, but all that money goes through the goverment first. They are not allowed to favor any politically party. By giving the negative sides to what the goverment are doing, it can be seen as favoring parties that are wanted to do the opposite to the goverment. For example, if the BBC talked about how many random civilians the UK had killed with their missiles, they can get into trouble as it is making the public be against what the goverment are doing in Syria.



‘Syrian refugee tells harrowing story of journey to Europe: ‘I fell in the sea… I thought I would die’ – The Independent; Lizzie Dearden; 15th August 2015


This story is about a 35 year old asylum seeker who travelled from Syria to the Greek island Lesbos. He talks about his journey and the danger he was in. The writer explains The man was picked up by smugglers in Turkey, who forced him to pay $1,125 (£720) to cross the Aegean Sea. He was assured that he would be put in a safe boat but made it to the shore to discover a small rubber dinghy…. They only want to get your money – they don’t care if you die….The boat was punctured and we fell in the water. I was in the sea for 45 minutes before they pulled me out.’ 

Within my film, I am doing a travel sequence.  Sometimes the travel to another country can be the most dangerous part of their lives. It normally costs a lot of money, so whole families can’t go together. This means that families get split up, and it might be the last time they see each other. Most of the time, they don’t even get to their destination. The people taking them only care about the money and not the people. This can be an issue and a lot of people die or are near to death when traveling.

‘Syrian refugees tell their harrowing stories in their own words.’ – New York Daily News – By Bassam S. Rifai – September 13 2015


This article contains several stories about refugees. All the stories contain what has happened to them and why they chose to leave their home country. This article is to educate people to help them understand why people are leaving there countries.

Story One: Dr. Amer El-Hafez.

The regime would also send the Shabiha (secret police) to fire bullets at the protestors. I don’t think they wanted to kill us at that point, just to scare us…some people tipped us off that the regime was coming to the area and kidnapping people…They broke the door to my house and as they were breaking things inside….They said, “don’t worry, we are the military of the regime. We’re not here to hurt him.”…Then they blindfolded me and handcuffed me and kept on beating me for everyone to see. They took me to an area called El-Baramkeh, but on the way they were beating us so much you wouldn’t believe…They would randomly call out people and tie them up with their arms and legs spread out on the wall, and beat them. There was so much blood….They would usually torture you for about two to three months before they would kill you….’

This story shows the unneeded and random violence that is happening in Syria. This man was completely innocent and yet was tortured and treating like a criminal. This story shows what the government is like in Syria, and how the problems come down to them. there is no system to there punishments or the way there police work. Random civilians get hurt which is unfair.


Story Two: Hussain Mohammad

One of doctors at the hospital where I volunteer, a man who is related to Bashar Assad, supervises the nurses. Several times he told me, “you should not help the wounded, never, because they are terrorists” — even though most of the patients were children and women. But a few months later, the doctor had me arrested. For six days I was tortured. Then my father paid a large amount to the Syrian army and they released me…I decided to travel to Europe. I traveled to Algeria and then Libya, and then to Italy by the sea. It was a very harsh trip, and it took about 40 days. I then came to the Netherlands and was accepted for asylum. I live currently in Amsterdam without my family.’

This story is another story about a Doctor. It shows what will happen if you try to help people in Syria, which leads to ethical issues. This is another example of how the government is forcing people into violent and and broken ways. They are creating a broken society by making people turn against each other, breaking up the community and unison that most countries have.


Story Three: Bashar Al Dyab

Before the revolution, I was in the last year of studying dentistry in Damascus University. In July 2011, I was in my uncle’s house in a neighborhood that was thought of as a hotbed of the opposition. I was studying with my cousin when the soldiers came and arrested about a thousand men randomly.

This is another example of the unfair treatment of random civilians. Bashar in an ‘intelligent’ and well educated person. If he came to this country people would still treat him unfairly as he is a refugee and people see the worst in them. It also shows the different between before the revolution and after.

Story 4: Basil Mohammed Alriabi

‘I am ten years old. 

My father died by a barrel bomb dropped from the sky. Then I was separated from my mother and my brother when I was hurt by a land mine while we were trying to leave Syria.

Both of my legs and my left arm were amputated and my right eye was destroyed. Someone took me to Jordan and now Souriyat and SCM Medical helped me with my physical therapy and psychiatric treatment. I want to keep pursuing my studies.’

This story is about a child, which shows everyone is affected by the war. A lot of the time, the media hides the fact that children are getting hurt by not only IS but bombs dropped by the UK and other countries. A lot of the times when people think of immigrants, they don’t think about children.


Story 4: Fatima

‘When we were living in Daraa, the Shabiha men broke down our door and came to our home. They accused my husband of being part of the opposition. He wasn’t. The men tied our hands and feet and they started to beat my husband. They made us watch while they each raped him. Then, they used their sticks on him. When they were tired of beating him, they forced us all to the window of our home and made us watch as they threw my husband out of it. He died.

They kept us tied up and pushed us to the ground. One of the men brought a big pot of boiling water from the kitchen and threw it on my boys.

We are here now in the Zaatari camp in Jordan. We live in our tent. It was so cold this winter, but we managed. I want to forget about what happened and just move forward because we must live our lives; thank God we still have them.’

This is another story that shows the problems with the random acts of violence and the treatment of completely innocent people. The woman telling this story had to go through all this, with her children watching as well. This another example of children are affected by the violence in Syria. This will effect the children for the rest of there lives without proper treatment or help, which they won’t get.


Story 5: Dr. Rida Harah

‘When I was in Damascus, I was working at the Zabadani hospital treating civilians wounded in the demonstrations. The Shabiha brought two bodies to the hospital and they threw them at the hospital door. They told me to put them in the freezer, but only one of them was dead.

I told this to the men. They looked at me, walked up to the man who was still alive and shot him in the head, then said “well, now he’s dead; put him in the freezer.”

If I go back, I’m dead. I want to go home, but I don’t want to die. What do I do?’

This is another story of how doctors or nurses are affected by the Shabiha. He is now stuck in a refugee camp and can’t go home. Knowing that you can’t go back to your home most be a horrible feeling. They’ve lived there all their lives and if they go back to their families or homes, they have the chance of being killed.



‘Syria in ruins’ –The Atlantic ; by Alan Taylor; 8th November 2012 


This article contains pictures taken by different photographers who had been to Syria. Some of the pictures are very emotive and troubling. Below are some of the pictures that I though stood out the most.


This picture stands out to me because how scared the child looks. A bomb destroyed his home and he was no where to go. This picture to me makes me realise how much children are effected by the war. I think using a child in my film would be good as people feel more emotionally attached to child, especially if they’re in danger.


This photo is of an old church that has been destroyed after clashes between Free Syrian Army fighters and forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. This church was once a beautiful piece of architecture that is now destroyed.


This image is of a woman who was extremely injured by an artillery shell. Several dozen people died in this attack. She was lucky enough to survive. This shot stood out to me because you can see the pain that she’s carrying. Although you can’t see the wounds there is a lot of blood.

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This is a picture of members of the Free Syrian Army. They take this position, looking over a city. As much as I like this shot, I don’t think I could recreate it safely. However, I like the idea of using fire in other ways. For example using candles to light a room as if there was a power cut. I like the way the flame lights up the peoples faces, as it gives a red glow. This could be interpreted as evil or menacing.


This image shows Syrian people walking through a now destroyed city. This image stood out to me because of how damaged and dark it looks. The street looks abandoned and deserted because of the amount of death. I wouldn’t be able to create this shot as I’m filming in Lancaster and there aren’t many places that are abandoned. However, there few places that are currently  being knocked down for new development. I could film in places like that as there would be a lot of rouble. With the right angles I could make a close shot that looked like it was in a city that was deserted.

mother and daughter

This picture shows a woman hugging her in child after a shell attack. This attack killed at least 15 people. This is another really powerful shot. Although it doesn’t show what happened to them, it has a much deeper meaning. This is another easy shot that I could recreate by looking at costumes.



This image is a pile of bloody shoes from dead or heavily injured people at a hospital. I think this image is powerful because although it doesn’t show injured people, it tells it in a more subtle way. I could use this sort of shot in my fmp film as it’s not showing on screen violence, but in tells a story with a deeper meaning. This shot would be easy to achieve if I created the props.

This sequence of images show a man running then being shot twice, once in the stomach and once in his back. He is carried away by more civilians to the nearest hospital. I think these photos are very powerful because you can’t see the shooter or who/what they are running from.


Conclusion of Section

This part of my research on real life stories in articles was useful. Finding out first hand stories about what if happening in Syria. I think looking at pictures as well were useful because it helped me picture what was actually going on.



What I have found from secondary research of real life stories

I have found that a lot of stories are sheltered from the media. The media talks about Syrian people as a whole rather then what they are going through. Looking at these articles and news clips opened my eyes to see what is really going on.

In my final film, I want to incorporate some of the things that have happened to people within my storyline. However, some are so violent and horrific it would be too hard and too shocking to put into a college film. Instead, I am going to do the bare minimum. I can incorporate the stories subliminally. For example a cut from 2 people arguing then too 1 of the people on the floor crying with cuts and bruises.

I don’t think I can do some of the stories justice, so I won’t concentrate on one. The survivors of the war are all brave and I think if I did one persons story I wouldn’t be able to tell it completely truthfully.

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3 Responses to Secondary Research – Real Life Stories from Syria

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    This is absolutely brilliant work, Izzy, showing a fearless engagement with some painful issues. You’ve offered consistently good analysis of the various sources, challenging their veracity and considered how they are reported in the media. It’s crucial to place any story in context, which makes this a terrific piece of work. To improve further, there are several shots where you’ve offered description without analysis—to factor in technical factors here would improve the piece further, as it would connect it better to your own film. For example—the pile of bloodied shoes would make for an astonishing shot, should you find the props. The ruined streets are not going to be possible to achieve round Lancaster, but your analysis could identify as much—and consider alternatives. Absolutely outstanding background work, Izzy, but it could go further in considering your own film!


  2. Pingback: Evaluation | Izzy Pye

  3. Pingback: Evaluation | Izzy Pye

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