Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Syria: The Revolution Goes Multilingual

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011/12.

The revolution in Syria is not just taking place on the battleground, between Daraa's alleyways or Aleppo's Citadel. There is a bigger battle going on online with both regime antagonists and supporters, portraying a merciless tug of war against each other.

With the Internet accessible almost all over the globe, the Syrian revolution has gone global, with news spreading as quickly as the events unfold on the ground.

Syrian Immigrants and Friends of Syrian (irrespective of their affinity) contributed into disseminating the information into almost every language.

Only on Facebook, not to mention other platforms, we can find hundreds and hundreds of pages and groups in Greek, German, Turkish, Spanish (here and here), Italian, Japanese … and many more.

Among the pages worth mentioning in this regard is “Syrian Revolution in the Languages of the World” and the “Free Syrian Translators”.

Another page which is quite popular on Facebook is entitled “La Revolution Syrienne en Français” (The Syrian Revolution in French) where its owners are trying to distinguish themselves from other pages by posting quotes of intellectuals, photographs, cartoons, paintings of the situation as well as online petitions.

We interviewed them to know the motives behind creating such a page in French particularly and how they think they are contributing to the revolution – virtually.

GV: Who is behind the page?

Quatre personnes 2 hommes, 2femmes syriens et français – de l'intérieur du pays et à l'étranger -profondément acquis à la cause de la révolution.

Four persons, two men and two women, Syrians and French from inside the country and abroad, who are deeply engaged in the cause of the revolution

GV: Why did you decide to create a FaceBook Page?

Moyen de communication on ne peut plus efficace pour toucher le plus grand nombre d'internautes, syriens ou étrangers sur ce qui se passe dans notre pays dévasté anéanti par un régime barbare et sanguinaire.

There is no better communication tool to reach the biggest number of citizens, Syrians or foreigners on everything that is happening in our country, devastated and ruined by a barbarian and bloody regime.

GV:To whom is this page addressed? Why is it in French?

A toute la communauté francophone, la diaspora syrienne, tous ceux qui de près ou de loin s'intéressent à notre révolution. D'innombrables pages ont été créées en arabe, en anglais, nous avons jugé judicieux de nous adresser à la communauté francophone. La langue française constitue la seconde langue étrangère pour bcp de syriens, puis c'est le pays des droits de l'homme et de la première révolution populaire (1789) Nous avons d'ailleurs en couverture le tableau de Delacroix, “la liberté guidant le peuple” avec, bien entendu l'étendard de la Révolution Syrienne.

Delacroix Painting with the Syrian Flag

To all the Francophone community, the Syrian diaspora, and those who are interested in our revolution, to a great or lesser extent. Countless pages have been created in Arabic and English, we thought it was only right to reach out to the Francophone community. The French language is the second foreign language for many Syrians, moreover it is the home of the human rights and the first popular revolution (1789). We have as our cover page, Delacroix’ painting “Freedom guiding the people” with naturally the flag of the Syrian Revolution

GV: What is the content of this page?

0utre une revue de presse quotidienne, nous essayons de publier le maximum d'informations, articles, analyses politiques etc. qui touche de près ou de loin à la révolution syrienne. Nous publions également beaucoup de photos, caricatures, affiches, peintures, vidéos, relatives à la Syrie, la création artistique est d'une richesse indescriptible. Des traductions fidèles de textes, d'affiches, faites par nos soins. Une attention particulière d'afficher les sources, l'origine de telle publication, ou nom d'artiste. Ainsi, par le texte et l'image, nous parvenons à rendre compte des évènements de leur évolution, en Syrie.

In addition to a daily news digest, we try to post the maximum amount of information, articles and political analysis that are somehow related to the Syrian Revolution. We also publish lots of photographs, cartoons, posters, paintings and videos related to Syria. The artistic creation is so rich, not to mention correct translations carried out by ourselves of texts or posters. We are very keen on citing our sources, the origin of publication and the names of artists. It is through the text and the image we are able to report on the events and on their evolution, in Syria.

GV: How do you judge of the netizens interaction with the Syrian Revolution?

Ils sont de plus en plus nombreux, leur taux augmente de manière inattendue, nous avons à l'heure qu'il est, une portée de près de 5.000 personnes et dépassé les 3.600 adhérents. La plupart commente avec pertinence les évènements, partage bcp d'illustrations et de publications.

They are becoming more and more in numbers and their rate is increasing in an unexpected way. Until now we have been able to reach around 5,000 people and we have over 4,000 members. The majority comment on the events and share lots of illustrations and publications.

GV: Do you sometimes receive threats because of what you publish?

Oui Certes nous en recevons. Quelquefois des insultes, des commentaires haineux, pro régime, que nous supprimons, évidemment. Une certaine déontologie régit notre page, pas d'injures, pas de vidéos ou d'images choquantes et une devise clairement visible : UNITE LIBERTE DIGNITE

Yes, of course we do. Sometimes we receive insults, hateful comments and pro-regime propaganda that we naturally delete. A certain ethics guide our page – no insults, no shocking videos or images and a clearly visible slogan or motto: UNITY FREEDOM DIGNITY

GV: Do you coordinate with other pages or do you work solo?

Nous avons longtemps travaillés en solo, mais depuis quelques mois, nous sommes extrêmement sollicités par d'autres pages qui souhaitent collaborer avec nous, au vu du succès grandissant rencontré par nos publications. Tous horizons confondus, nous oeuvrons avec des belges, des canadiens, des français et des syriens, bien ententdu.

We have long been working in solo, but for the past few months we have been sought after by other pages who wish to collaborate with us given the big success of our work. We now cooperate with Belgians, Canadians, French and Syrians, of course.

GV: What do you think is left to make the Syrian Revolution heard by the biggest number of people?

Une MOBILISATION internationale DES PEUPLES pour que cesse le génocide du peuple syrien !!!!! Nous sommes désabusés, déçus voire désespérés par l'inanité de la communauté internationale qui regarde et LAISSE FAIRE l'extermination d'un peuple qui n'aspire qu'à sa libération du joug de l'oppression et de la dictature ! Les syriens n’ont rien à attendre des gouvernements, depuis 18 mois de cette révolte populaire, l’ONU –au fait à quoi sert-elle ? – les gouvernements ont prouvé leur incapacité à aider notre pays. Si seulement les peuples pouvaient faire pression sur leurs gouvernements, en manifestant, en faisant grève en se mobilisant… peut-être que le sang des syriens massacrés en masse cessera de couler ?.
Pour le peuple syrien : il est essentiel de donner la voix, plus que jamais aux syriens qui ont fait le pari de la mobilisation populaire et démocrate et qui se sentent démunis car seule voix des armes et des canons trouve un écho en Occident

An international MOBILIZATION of PEOPLE in order to stop the genocide of the Syrian people !!!! We are disillusioned, deceived even desperate by the inanity of the international community who just watches and allows the extermination of a population who only aspires to its liberation from the yoke of oppression and dictatorship! Syrians have nothing to wait from governments, it has been 18 months that the popular uprising has been going on and the UN? What is it for? The governments have proven their incapacity to help our country. If only people can pressure their governments by demonstrating, observing strikes and mobilizing … maybe the blood of Syrians massacred in numbers will stop flowing.
As for the Syrian people: it is necessary to make their voices heard, now more than ever to Syrians who have bet on the popular and democratic mobilization and who are feeling  helpless because the voice of arms and cannons only finds its echo in the West.

GV: In your opinion, aren't you afraid that the information circulating in languages other than Arabic distorts the facts? Bad Translation? Wrong understanding of the reality?

Absolument pas ! En ce qui concerne notre page et bien que nous ne soyons aucunement des “professionnels” du journalisme; nous ne publions que des faits vérifiés et recoupés. Parfaitement bilingues, nous nous efforçons de rendre le plus fidèlement possible l'image de la réalité en Syrie.

Absolutely not!!! As far as it concerns our page and even if were unprofessional journalists, we only post verified and accurate news. Being perfectly bilingual, we try to give the most faithful image of Syria.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site