Her name was Ruqia/ Elle s’appelait Ruqia ….

Bloming Almond tree (Prunus amygdalo-persica (West) Rehd.) 07.02.2016 near Herxheim am Berg (Germany), © Christophe Neff 07.02.2016

« Elle s’appelait Ruqia » – her name was Ruqia. That’s the beginning of a very notable commemorative address for Ruqia Hassan Mohammed, written by the French journalist Alain Frachon and published in the print edition of Le Monde of Friday the 5 February 2016. Ruqia Hassan was a citizen journalist who wrote under the nom de plume of Nissan Ibrahim about here daily life in Raqqa, which is currently ruled by the jihadists of the Islamic state. She was murdered[1] by Isis because she had the courage to witness daily live in Raqqa under the rule of jihadists[2] (the online version of the Alain Frachon text begins “Elle s’appelait Ruqia et racontait son quotidien sous la botte des djihadistes” Her name was Ruqia and she told us her daily live under the rule of the jihadists).

It’s dangerous to tell the truth about daily live in Syria   ….. in regions ruled by Bashar al-Assad  citizen journalists (as many other people) face torture and death – in regions ruled by jihadist’s it’s the same – citizen journalists (as many other people) face torture and death. The current geography of Syria is a map painted with the blood of innocent citizens, – a landscape of torture, murder, manslaughter …. a geography of beheading, crucifying, …. a desert of desperation, hunger and solitude.

When reading the memoir text of Alain Frachon I thought, – that the Le Monde should have had translated the text in English, – as they have done it in very rare occasions, as for example the report “Chemical warfare in Syria” in June 2013. So perhaps more people would know more about the tragic live of Ruqia, but also more people would know what the courageous citizen journalists of “Rakka is Being Silently Slaughtered” do – and for what they risk their live every day.

For copyright reasons it’s impossible to translate the full text of Alain Frachon report – but I think the last sentence of the memoir is worth to be completely translated “Peut-être y aura-t-il un jour une plaque, quelque part dans Rakka libérée, à la mémoire d’une jeune femme qui a défié les petites frappes de l’EI et qui portera ce nom : Ruqia Hassan Mohammed./ Perhaps one day, somewhere in Raqqa liberated, there will be a commemorative plaque, in honor of a young woman who challenged IS, – Ruqia Hassan Mohammed (free translation C.Neff).

Photo: © Christophe Neff 07.02.2016

Christophe Neff, Grünstadt the 07.02.2016

P.S.: Instead of posting of photo of Ruqia (you can find photos of her in the two articles of the Guardian I mentioned in the footnotes (1,2)) I preferred to post the picture of a blooming almond tree, which I photographed today in the vineyards of the Unterhardt between Freinsheim and Herxheim am Berg. The almond tree is in almost the whole Mediterranean world a symbol for the beginning of springtime.


Frachon, Alain (2016) : Elle s’appelait Ruqia et racontait son quotidien sous la botte des djihadistes. In Le Monde, Vendredi 5 Fevrier 2016, p. 19 (for le Monde subscribers download here).

[1] Aisha Gani and Kareem Shaheen : “Journalist Ruqia Hassan murdered by Isis after writing on life in Raqqa”, The Guardian, Tuesday 5 January 2016

[2] Homa Khaleeli, Aisha Gani Mona Mahmood and Mais al-Bayaa: Ruqia Hassan: the woman who was killed for telling the truth about Isi, The Guadian, Wednesday 20 January 2016

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