The 15-year-old Syrian child, Muhammed Najm, made headlines in 2018 and drew the world’s attention through his coverage of the war, siege and destruction that is taking place around him in Ghouta Suburbs, the eastern enclave of the capital, Damascus, using only a phone camera to record clips that he broadcast on a daily basis via His accounts on social media.
Recently, “Najem,” in cooperation with the writer Nora Neus, published a graphic novel entitled Muhammad Nejm, War Reporter.” In it, he recounts the diaries of the war as he lived it when he was still thirteen years old and his father was killed in an explosion during prayer.
Two years later, “Muhammad” began documenting the war and revealing what the besieged families were living in Eastern Ghouta at the time, and he was one of them.
Najem was only eight years old when the war began, and at the age of 13 when his father was killed in an explosion during prayer, and when he turned 15, he started using his phone with a camera to document what Syrians were suffering in the war, including the bombing of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Caches in underground bunkers. The interviews with the children, including his little brother and sister, captured the world’s attention.
Diaries of war in Damascus
“Muhammad,” who lives in Istanbul today, told Teen Vogue that writer Nora Neus called him about writing the book in 2019.
He added that he had never written a book before and had never met a writer before, and the idea was surprising and unexpected for him.
On the scene that most affected him from the war diaries in Damascus, he referred to a particularly horrific video clip that occurred when a bomb fell directly behind him. “It was kind of scary, but at the same time, he didn’t even feel the bomb falling because, as he said, he was busy filming and documenting, and this clip was one of his favourite videos.”
We are generous and kind people
Najem added that his videos hoped to show a different side to Syria.
And he added: “Syria is a paradise for me, and the media shows bombs and killings, and this is the other side of Syria.”
He added, “We are not a violent people. We started the revolution demanding democracy, and I believe that democracy is a right for everyone and we had to reach our freedom without blood, killing, displacement and destruction, but the Assad regime wanted it as well, and others should look at Syria differently. We are a generous and kind people.”
Age is not important
“Muhammad” told Teen Vogue that he dreams of continuing his journalistic career in the future, adding that “age doesn’t matter,” and if you look at the Syrian revolution, it started because of children, and kids can do a lot of things.”
Information circulated by activists indicates that “Muhammad Najem” was living with his mother and brothers after his father died as a result of the destruction of a mosque in which he was praying, and he was forced to leave school three months before that, as he was studying in the eighth grade after his school was also bombed more than once from before the warplanes.
In February 2018, CNN streamed a report about the boy, “Muhammad Najem”, the youngest activist in Eastern Ghouta, who used to convey the daily suffering of the population at that time through social media platforms and his voice to the world.
He reported the horrific events that resulted in the killing of hundreds of people, as stated in the video report, in which the young man appeared to introduce himself while clouds of black smoke appeared behind him: “I am Muhammad Najem, I am 15 years old, and I live in Eastern Ghouta.”
“We are killing with your silence,” he added as he walked over the rubble of a destroyed building, adding, “Bashar al-Assad, Putin and Khamenei killed our childhood.”
In a later scene, he appeared to stand over the rubble of a destroyed house and say that people should know everything about what is happening in Syria.
“Muhammed” recounted that he was playing with a friend yesterday in an underground shelter and today he and his family were killed by a fighter plane. “He and his family could not survive under the rubble of a four-storey building near his house a few hours ago.”
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.