The violence in Syria hit close to home last Monday as a Syracuse University graduate student was killed by government forces in the city of Homs.
Bassel Al Shahade, a filmmaking graduate student and Fulbright Scholar, had returned to Syria, his homeland, to film the countrys revolution, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.
Working as a citizen journalist, he was killed while filming Syrian government attacks on citizens in Homs. The previous Friday, 108 people were massacred in the nearby town of Houla, by Syrian forces. Children and parents were shot dead in their homes in the incident, which caused several governments, including the United States, to expel Syrian ambassadors.
Mr. Shahade, a native of Damascus, was pursuing a master of arts in film. His adviser, SU transmedia studies professor Owen Shapiro, told the Post-Standard that the student had returned to Syria because his grandmother was ill but also because he wanted to be with his people in the struggle they are going through.
Professor Shapiro added, He was a really bright, creative guy with tremendous potential as a filmmaker.
SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor issued a statement: This is a terrible tragedy for Bassels family and friends in Syria and for all his fellow students, faculty and friends here in Syracuse who knew him. His death is also a tragedy for the Syrian people, who have suffered many months of tragic violence as they seek greater freedom for their nation.
The Syrian governments reaction to peaceful protests for change that began in March 2011 have been brutal beyond belief. Syrian President Bashar Assad and others in his regime must answer someday for crimes against their own citizens.
Mr. Al Shahades efforts to record the events in his homeland, despite the danger, are to be commended. His death underscores the need to increase international pressure for President Assad to leave power.