I was honored to have attended an online premiere for the film documentary ‘For Sama’ in October last year. It made me question how some places in Syria are left untouched by the war while, for Waad Al-Keteab, an 18-year-old university student, her life shifted entirely over a couple months from protesting peacefully, to her friends and family being killed - its a saddening story of a mother protecting her daughter, Sama.
The documentary follows daily videos taken by Waad over a period of time of political violence; “filming on mobiles was the only way to show the world we were fighting for our freedom”. People began to protest corruption and oppression by the government of Bashar al-Assad - or what Waad called a dictatorship (rightfully, as there are scenes of civilians being handcuffed or killed, and later being found in the river). Waad explained that this is what happened to people who opposed the regime - the message was clear. Die or keep silent and obedient to Assad's regime.
What made her survive was - what she called her ‘headstrong recklessness’. To me, this was her sole cause for survival - for her to fight was to show the truth, and a sort of revenge against what happened to her friends and family. But more importantly it is for the people who are still in Syria. The 12 million refugees in camps around the world, innocent victims of political discrimination. In the end Hamza, Sama, and Waad pass the border. “Allahu Akbar!” proclaimed Waad - yet Sama was crying and Waad began to question whether Sama would remember Aleppo and blame him for not leaving, or blame him for leaving then. Waad had her footage, a plant, and whatever left in her memories of a life, which Sama will never experience.