For my history project I chose to focus on Razan Zaitouneh (Image Below). The reason I chose to cover Razan Zaitouneh to be the pinnacle of my history project is because I am a first generation Arab-American originally from Syrian descent and with the civil war going on in Syria I thought it was important to explain some important nuggets of information about Syria. It was a bit difficult to find information on Razan Zaitouneh as she led a life in a world that was much different than ours here in the U.S. However, it was more of a surprising thought that her story is not really told to many in this part of the world.
Razan Zaitouneh grew up in Syria, but always had a thirst for human rights the moment she was born. Once she graduated as a lawyer in 2001 she began immediately as a lawyer in Syria defending those who suffer from being political prisoners. She was always active in her community, joining various groups that support human rights, but her actions that make her stand out the most is her actions being the first person to essentially document the atrocities and human rights offenses that were committed by the Syrian army and police during the uprising. When the issues arose in Syria and people were being killed, the world was well aware of what was going on, but there was no “proof.”She created the Violation Documentation Center (established 2011) in Syria which brought people verifiable statistical and witness reports from within the country which verified that Syria was in fact doing so many humans rights violations.
Even before the events that shattered the country went underway, she was always reporting on Syrian human rights, partaking in the Committee to Support Families of Political Prisoners in Syria since 2005. She was even known as being part of the “Duma Four” which are four activist which created so much activism and good for the community of Duma (a suburb of Damascus) that they earned a nickname.
Her actions have lead her to receive the reward for the Sakharov Prize in October of 2011. Even though she has done so much for my country, she has been kidnapped along with her family and no one has taken responsibility for these actions. Unfortunately, this hero is unknown whether she is alive or dead. Hopefully this information will help give you a bit more insights on risks individuals partake in to help spread information and stop human rights violations.