“[W]hen I first started filming …. The first body, I didn’t realise it was my brother….When people ask about martyrs in my country… they never ask for names.. just numbers … here in my country they are just numbers…if I don’t film this, who will ?”
Born in 1975, Trad Al-Zahori originates from Al-Qusayr, Homs. A regional boxing champion in his younger years, Trad emigrated to Cyprus following the completion of his mandatory military service. There he honed his media skills working in video and montage production.
With the start of the revolution, Trad returned to Syria and was heavily involved in the movement in his hometown. He then became involved in media activism along with his best friend Hadi Al Abdallah. They were among the first revolutionary media activists that would cover Syria for the next nine years.
Trad was prominent in the coverage of the battle of Qusayr, documenting the atrocities committed by Hezbollah and the Syrian regime against civilians and later the battle to defend his hometown. His feats were covered in an al Jazeera documentary.
Media activism implies being constantly close to the danger, to the victims and to be among the first witnesses of the massacres, which is extremely difficult humanly because of the barbarity of the methods used by the regime to subdue the population. Trad al-Zahori said “[M]any people want to take videos like me, but they leave after one or two days [due to the weight of this work]. But I will never leave, just for my God. When someone sees the videos, maybe they will help the people here, the children, the martyrs”
Following the fall of Al Qusayr, Trad continued to cover events from Al-Qalamoun, to Eastern Ghouta and eventually Yabroud, where he was martyred on the 20th of Febuary 2014. Trad considered his camera to be his weapon and gave his life to document Assad war crimes.
Trad used to say “[I] don’t have a gun, I have a camera. My camera is my weapon. Bashar fears the camera more than any heavy artillery. More than a tank or a jet fighter. The camera is bringing the truth to the outside world”.
Trad al-Zohari’s work, resilience, courage, and dedication will not be forgotten and justice will eventually be made. Discover this collation of quotes from Al Jazeera Documentary featuring him (with english subtitles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kNB5WmvODw