Photo Credit: Muhammad Najem
Muhammad Najem and the latest bombing results in eastern Ghouta, Syria on Feb. 28 2018

In the once-beautiful region around Damascus known as eastern Ghouta, manhood has come early to a 15-year-old teenage boy who uses social media to share the horror of the world around him.

More than 400,000 civilians have been left hungry, sick and under siege as the Syrian regime continues its bombing campaign. Muhammad Najem contends the missiles are sometimes loaded with napalm.


Just two days after the start of this calendar year, Najem stood with his blue eyes and blond hair on a rooftop with the camera rolling, and said nothing. There was no need.

But when he does, he speaks in self-taught English and Syrian Arabic about the daily bombing, the destruction of his school and the shortages of food and medical supplies.

Having accused President Bashar al-Assad from the outset of “killing his childhood,” Najem now tweets his calls to those in the international community to take action “before it is too late.”

Russia, says Najem, is a “state of occupation in Syria” and the failed truce “just to cover up its crimes in the killing of children and women in the eastern Ghouta and to emerge as a state sponsor of peace, not war.”

Speaking Monday (Feb. 26) in a tweet directly to the United States, Najem appealed to Americans to “look at this destruction… help us and do not be like the rest of the world.”

One can see from week to week how the strain is slowly getting to him, this budding young field reporter with more than 15,000 Twitter followers who never asked for the job. There are shadows under his eyes that weren’t there a few months ago.

On Feb. 12, he tweeted a photo of himself with another boy, Salim.

“One of my friends was killed and the other was injured,” he wrote. “This is the picture of my friend Salim after leaving the hospital yesterday after the violent raids on his house near my house. I love you so much and wish you and all the children of the world peace and safety.” #saveghouta

Nearly half a million Syrians have been killed since the start of the savage civil war that began in March 2011 with the scrawl of a teen who was impressed by the Arab Spring getting under way elsewhere in the region.

Literally millions have been displaced internally, and millions more have been forced to flee their homeland, possibly for good.

Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Alawite sect; relatively few Alawites have been harmed, and none were attacked by regime forces. Assad is being aided by Iran and its proxies, all of whom are Shia Muslims, a sect linked to Alawites.

Can what has happened to the millions of Sunni Muslim Syrian civilians be called a genocide yet? Is it possible for the leader of a nation to even perpetrate a genocide upon his own people?

Well, Adolf Hitler was an Austrian and the Nazis were Germans. Both Austrian and German Jews were callously exterminated without hesitation.

It is the belief of this writer that we have reached the stage where it is indeed fair and appropriate to refer to this horror as a genocide and to begin to consider ways in which to change the international narrative so that a Russian veto against action on the Syrian situation in the United Nations Security Council will not be as simple, nor as acceptable.

Let’s not wait for a million Syrians to die, among them Muhammad Najem.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.