Don't Worry, We're Not Assad's Henchmen

By David Bogner, Photos: Elsa Okazaki

It wasn't easy finding a Syrian family living in Austria for this shoot. But, at the very last minute, we managed to get in touch with Mohamad Orabi and his Egyptian flatmate, Ahmed Ramzy. Still, there were obstacles: the shoot was initially supposed to happen on a Tuesday in the middle of November, but as we were about to hop into the car and make our way over to their apartment, we got a call from Mohamad saying we'd have to reschedule. Apparently someone violently banging on the door at 6AM had woken him up and he was worried it was Assad's henchmen.

It wasn't a completely unjustified fear, either. The young Syrian might have been living in Vienna for the past seven years, but he puts almost all of his time into fighting Bashar's oppressive regime. As a member of the committee of the Syrian Revolution, he's in charge of organising weekly public protests and asked us not to give away any information about where he lives for fear of reprisals. However, he proudly opened his door to us and was adamant on having his white and green wristband on view at all times.

Ahmed, Mohamad's Egyptian roomate, was a little shy but not any less proud. He told us about the revolution at Tahrir Square, in which he had taken part, and about how religion is an important part of his life. As soon as he heard that Elsa, our photographer, has twins, he insisted on giving her prayer mats for both children. 

Introduction by David Bogner
Photos: Elsa Okazaki

More from The Syria Issue:

Not All Syrians Side with the Rebels

Syrian Disneyland

Gunrunning with the Free Syrian Army

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