Magazine July 12, 2021, Issue

Witness from Syria

Waad al-Kateab, filming in Aleppo (Courtesy of Action for Sama)
On a brave, resourceful woman who tells her country’s story

You may not have heard — but Bashar al-Assad has just been reelected president of Syria with 95 percent of the vote. Syrian politics is getting more competitive, Waad al-Kateab notes. When she was a girl, Assad won with more like 97 percent.

Sometimes gallows humor is the only humor available. Waad al-Kateab is a Syrian journalist and filmmaker in exile, working for Channel 4 News in London. She can laugh at Assad’s “reelection,” but it still galls. For example, the dictator went to the town of Douma to cast his “vote.” Douma was a bastion of opposition to him, before

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