【雙語】橫跨三國三語的 70 位志願者,為失聲的敘利亞人譜寫臉孔──Humans of Syria,圍城裡的革命(上)

【雙語】橫跨三國三語的 70 位志願者,為失聲的敘利亞人譜寫臉孔──Humans of Syria,圍城裡的革命(上)

採訪、整理:趙安平/換日線編輯部

Humans of Syria(الإنسان في سوريا),一個成立於 2015 年 3 月 14 日的非營利計畫,由來自世界各地的志願者組成,透過人物拍攝與專訪,呈現敘利亞人在戰爭中的第一手故事,祈願能得到世界的注意與協助。

過去,HOS 的訪談內容僅以為英文、阿拉伯文與法文呈現。今年 5 月,「換日線阿拉伯」的編輯在無意間發現 Humans Of Syria 這個粉絲專頁後,秉持著將為「阿迷」開發更多阿拉伯世界的第一手報導,決定與 HOS 進行合作,獨家呈現中文授權版本的敘利亞故事,得到熱烈迴響。

來自敘利亞、年紀才 30 出頭的 Marvin Jamal 是 HOS 計畫的重要推手,也是 12 個共同創辦者(co-founder)之一。她在組織裡負責協調、對外溝通的工作,帶領超過 70 名志願者,替那些被主流媒體忽略的敘利亞人發聲,讓世界得以透過珍貴的第一手報導,認識「數字」之外、充滿人性的敘利亞。

換日線編輯團隊專訪 Marvin 女士,聽她談談這三年多來,她是如何組織、傳遞這些令人心碎的敘利亞故事。

問:成立 Humans of Syria 的目的是什麼?是否受到 Humans of New York 的啟發?兩者之間有何異同?

答:當初成立 Humans of Syria 就是希望能強調那些「在社會上沒有聲音」的敘利亞人的故事。他們在媒體上的呈現往往僅是「數字」,因此我們想將發生在敘利亞的衝突變得人性化,並特別強調敘利亞個體在衝突中克服困難的成就;他們每天生活在沒有水電的圍城之中,在這之中他們想到了什麼解方?分享這些故事就是我們成立 HOS 的初衷。

我們有三個目標讀者群:第一,生活在敘利亞武裝革命區的人們,讓他們藉以彼此學習;另外也讓生活在其他地方的人知道,他們都只是人而已,並非所有人都是戰士。第二,我們希望可以為敘利亞的攝影師建立一個自由獨立的空間,因為他們平常都是在為新聞通訊社拍攝。

這是一個零資金的志願計畫,主要讓攝影師能在其中交換彼此經驗,並擬定自己的拍攝計畫。第三則是希望讓更多人看到志願者計劃在敘利亞的重要性,更難能可貴的是那些加入「零資金」志願計畫的人們。

另外,這個計畫確實受到 Humans of New York 啟發。當初我們希望能找到一個最好的方式去呈現這些故事,而這也的確是個很棒的點子。不同的是,就我所知 Humans of New York 由一個人在經營,對攝影師來說是一個更開放的發表空間;我們的目標讀者與成立目的不一樣。

問:對於主流媒體歪曲敘利亞的報導,與世人對敘利亞人的刻板印象,妳的看法是什麼?

答:我個人覺得,媒體對於敘利亞人的報導往往停留在「數字」的層面,他們被呈現的樣子是一群需要幫助、無力的人們,這不是事實。另外,他們總是被描繪成戰士或恐怖份子,在敘利亞有一場內戰,僅此而已。

然而,敘利亞人其實也只是一群正常的公民。我說的是被我們報導的那些人,那數以百萬計、日夜克服挑戰並且沒有接受任何國際人道組織(如:聯合國)援助的一群人;他們在圍城裡面生活了好幾年,沒有人能夠阻止這些大屠殺與炸彈的襲擊。

對我來說,媒體報導的是完全不同的東西。所以當我們走出敘利亞會發現,在這些戰爭報導背後,人們完全不了解敘利亞正在發生哪些事情,也完全不了解裡面的真實情況與「人」的那一面。這也是為什麼我們亟欲成立這個組織,從「人」的角度呈現圍城真實的一面。

媒體是向大眾呈現敘利亞的最大角色,但這也與政治有關係。敘利亞裡面並沒有太多的國際記者可以記錄這些事情,而這也是我們當初成立 HOS 的另一個原因,這樣一來便能連結媒體記者與專業的地下攝影師,以便讓他們取得並證實各種細節。

問:在運作 HOS 時,妳曾經遇到過什麼樣的困難嗎?而妳又是如何去處理這些問題的?

答:當然,事實上我們確實遭遇了許多困難。首先,這是一個零資金的志願者計畫,所以在鼓勵志願者繼續參與組織這方面是很困難的,尤其他們又生活在艱困的環境中,他們更需要得以維持生活所需的東西。但好的一方面是,我們的志願者已經超過 70 人了,他們分別來自敘利亞、黎巴嫩、土耳其,從事攝影、設計、協調與翻譯(英語與法語)的工作。

另外,要維持這些我們發布的故事在同一個水平也很困難,最難的便是:攝影師居住地的安全與否──他們經常得面對炸彈和空襲,而我們永遠都在面對這些威脅。這真的很困難,因為我們無法提供攝影師任何保護,所以我們從不要求他們出產每日新聞,只求能在情況允許時拍攝就好。

當我們在面對這些訪談故事時,心理上也是很難受的。我們收到所有艱困的故事並呈現給全世界,但令人失望的是,我們從未收到實質的認可、改變也沒有發生。

然而,我們並沒有什麼特定要求,像是每周必須發布多少故事等等,所以我們可以決定什麼時候要分享報導。我們的組織對報導數量的要求是很彈性的,所以志願者不會有任何壓力。從媒體來說,我們試著盡可能蒐集更多報導,呈現每一個地方更大的格局,並希望藉此讓世界對這些狀況有更清晰的印象。至於安全威脅方面,誠實地說,我們無能為力。

再者,我們的志願者分布在世界上的各個角落,從新聞工作者到公民抗議者,他們幫助這個計畫做翻譯、聯繫、支持與策展工作。我也很榮幸看到這些志願者從 2015 年 3 月 14 日計畫開始至今,默默持續了將近 4 年。

這些志願者全心全意投入的精神驚艷了我們,現在計畫只需要再更有組織和支持就好。我想,人們會這麼樂意分享這些故事並與這個「零資金」組織工作,正是因為他們想要說出真相;這也是為何他們要站上街頭參與革命。

問:HOS 從不接受任何資金援助,妳又是如何將這些志願者聚集起來、並維持這項計畫的呢?

答:我們會告知欲加入的志願者這些資訊,同意後我們才會讓他加入,我們也會在事前與志願者討論我們正在進行的計畫。沒錯,這是很難,但他們也正是因此而願意全心投入。這是一場革命,所以值得為其努力不懈;訴說真相與故事,正是他們革命的目的之一。

HOS 於 2015 年 3 月 14 日成立;這是計畫成立後發布的第一張照片。"Behind the numbers are ordinary human beings of flesh and blood—brave individuals who continue to struggle for life."圖/取自 Humans Of Syria 臉書專頁

Q:  What is the purpose of establishing Humans of Syria? Is that inspired by Humans of New York? What do you think about these two projects?  

A: The purpose of establishing the project is to highlight the stories of the individuals in Syria who didn't have the voice. The humans were presented as numbers more on the news, so we wanted to humanize the conflict in Syria and to highlight the achievements that were accomplished by individuals who overcome the difficulties of the daily life by under siege when they don't have the electricity and water. What are the solutions that they created? We established HOS in order to share these stories.

We have 3 target audience: the first is the people in the protest / revolution areas, so they can learn from each other, and also the people inside Syria and other countries, so they can actually know that these are humans; they're not all fighters as there isn't usually promote it to the world to highlight the stories of these individuals who are usually presented as numbers.

The second purpose is to create a free, independent space for Syrian photographers as they usually work with news agencies and they're not connected or they are usually received specific request. So this is an independent volunteering project with zero funding. It was the idea to create this free space for the photographers, so they can exchange their experience to get to know each other and to actually have the possibility to decide and create their own projects. 

The third one is to highlight the importance of the volunteering project in Syria with many NGOs working with the fund, and somehow it’s a bit hard for people to join volunteering projects without fund. 

Also, the project was inspired by “Humans of New York.” We were thinking what is the best way to present these stories and we thought that it was a great idea. And the differences between “Humans of Syria” and “Humans of New York” are that the Humans of New York is one-photographer as I know and this is more as an open space for all photographers──they have different purposes and different target audience. So it's the same way to display the stories but the different purpose and different goals actually.

Q: What is your opinion about the misrepresentation of mainstream media and people’s stereotype of Syrians?

A: As my opinion, I think that Syrians are usually presented on the media as “numbers.” They’re presented as weak and a needy group of people, which is not the truth. Also, they are presented as terrorists or fighters all the time, or that there is a civil war in Syria.

While underground, people are normal civilians. I'm talking about the groups that we prepare the stories from underground, there are millions of civilians in Syria who overcame everyday challenges by their own, and they didn't receive the support from the international humanitarian agencies like the UN. They lived under sieges for years without anyone interfering to stop these massacres, and all this violence with bombing and sieges. 

For me, they're presented in a really different way. So when you go outside Syria, you’ll see that people don't actually understand what's happening in Syria, and they don't know the realities of the real human side behind these news about battles and fights. This is why we established the project to clarify when you see someone who lived under seige, you need to know what a siege is and what they went through at the human side. 

I think the media did the biggest role on how Syrian are represented, but it's also about political decisions. There weren't a lot of international journalists who are able to record from Syria. That’s also another reason that we created this project, so the idea is also to connect the journalists with professional photographers underground, as they wanted to verify news to get more details.

Q: Have you ever encountered any difficulties when running HOS? How did you solve them?

A: Of course, there were many difficulties actually. First, as I said, it's a volunteer-project with zero funds, so it's really hard to encourage the volunteers to continue. Especially they're living in a really hard situation; they need something to meet their life needs. But actually, what was really great is that the volunteering for volunteers grow up to more than 70 volunteers around Syria, Lebanon and Turkey between photographers, designers, coordinator and translators (to English and French). 

Also, it is difficult to continue publishing these stories with the same level, and the hardest is the level of the security that they are living under──they are always facing bombs and airstrikes, so we're always under threats. It is really hard because we can't offer any protection, so we don't ask any photographers to go out for something daily, just share the stories with us when it's possible. 

And it is also psychologically hard for us when we do the interviews or working on these stories. We are receiving all these hard stories and present them to the world, yet it's disappointing that we neither receive the real recognition, nor see any changes.

However, we don't have a specific request, like we don't have to share specific number of stories by week, so it's for us to decide when to share the stories. We are flexible with the number of stories we're receiving, so the volunteers never face any pressure. 

In terms of the media, we tried to work as much as possible to have more variety of stories, so we have different stories to show the bigger pictures of each area, hoping that this will help to give clear image about situation to the world. And in terms of security threats, we couldn't do anything actually, because it's out of our hands.

There are also a group of volunteers all over the world, from journalist to civil activists who are helping the project whether by translating or connecting us with journalists or supporting to prepare the exhibits that we have.

And for the volunteers, it’s really an honor to see that the project continued for almost 4 years since 14 March, 2015 until today. And the volunteers actually surprised us to see that the spirits for volunteering is really there. It just need more organizing and more support. People are willing openly to share their stories and their work with zero fund because they wanted to tell the truth. This is why they went to the streets and joined the revolution.

Q: Since HOS never accept any fund or payment, how do you gather these volunteers and maintain this project?

A: We informed the volunteers, and everyone who accept it we add them to the group. Also, we have open discussions about what we're doing. So, as I said, it was hard. But they have the spirits and they were joining for them. It was a revolution and it deserved the efforts. And this is a part of the purposes of their revolution to tell the truth and the stories.

下篇請見:【雙語】他們不期望生活改變,但渴望被世界各地的你聽見──Humans of Syria,圍城裡的革命(下)

執行編輯:趙安平
核稿編輯:林欣蘋

Photo Credit:取自 Humans Of Syria 臉書專頁(Photo by: Laith Al Abdullah)

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