Syria: The Journalist Who Went Back

IWPR’s Syria coordinator Zaina Erhaim speaks on CNN’s Amanpour show.

Syria: The Journalist Who Went Back

IWPR’s Syria coordinator Zaina Erhaim speaks on CNN’s Amanpour show.

Zaina Erhaim in Aleppo, Syria. (Photo courtesy of Zaina Erhaim)
Zaina Erhaim in Aleppo, Syria. (Photo courtesy of Zaina Erhaim)
Tuesday, 13 October, 2015

Zaina Erhaim, trainer, mentor and IWPR project coordinator in Syria, appeared on CNN on September 12 to talk about her journalistic work and about life in rebel-held parts of Aleppo.

Asked by interviewer Fred Pleitgen  why she had returned after living in London, Erhaim said, “I felt like what I can do is try to help citizen journalists who are working in this horrific situation to spread the word out – and reach you.”

“What I’ve been trying to do, myself, in the last four years is to speak more about life,” she continued, "because what we're only getting [from media reporting] is just ISIS, regime bombing, and now lots of air forces interfering in our sky. What is missing from the news is the actual life. That is still going on, not only in Aleppo but in Idlib and all those rebel-held areas that are being targeted on a daily basis."

“People are still struggling to live. This is what I’m trying to highlight through these very basic pictures and stories that I’m trying to write and encourage these citizen journalists to write.”

Erhaim also touched on the exodus of Syrian refugees to Europe.

"They are not running away from war, but they're running toward life," she said. "They can't see the light at the end of the tunnel any more."

Born in Idlib and educated in Damascus, Erhaim was finishing a degree in international journalism in London just as unrest began in Syria in 2011. She spent two years as a broadcast journalist with the BBC before joining IWPR and returning to Syria, where she works with citizen journalists, civil society groups and women. She has been instrumental in producing material for the Women’s Blog project, which allows writers with no background in professional journalism to talk about their experiences.

This year, Erhaim won the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.

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