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City Of Ghosts

City of Ghosts follows the efforts of “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Director: Matthew Heineman
Year: 2017
Time: 92 min

 City of Ghosts
(2017) on IMDb

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Share  this film. Give others the chance to learn from its story.

Donate to the citizen journalist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. They risk their lives to report to the world, the least we can do is give back.

Protect your right to free speech. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union fight to maintain your first amendment right to a free media that “functions as a watchdog that can investigate and report on government wrongdoing.”

Join the battle for net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online.

Share your own stories. Take to social media, start a blog, or contribute to your local media outlet. This is citizen journalism in action!

Related Articles and Resources

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently:

“…is a campaign launched by a group of non-violent activists in Raqqa to expose the atrocities committed by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and terrorist extremist group ” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS toward the civilian populations if the city.”

Visit the official website of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

These citizen journalists risk their lives to report from Raqqa

“Bombs are not going to fix ISIS. This ground war that we’re fighting is not going to end ISIS. ISIS is an idea. And we have to fight this idea with the same tools that they’re using.”

Watch the interview with Raqqa member Abdalaziz Alhamza and director Matthew Heineman on PBS News Hour.

Syrian Citizen Journalists Document a City Under Siege

“1,454 people have been killed, mostly by U.S. airstrikes. In the same time, ISIS is still doing like human rights violation. There is like no services in the city—no electricity, no water. People are suffering. There is like no way to escape from the city or flee the city.”

Watch the video featuring Abdalaziz Alhamza on Democracy Now.

The Tragic Legacy of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently

“You have to realize this: I am not happy. How could I be? It is true that ISIS is defeated now in Raqqa. But ninety percent of the city is destroyed, there is rubble everywhere. Thousands have been killed. Hundreds of thousands are living in miserable conditions. People are sleeping outdoors in the desert heat. They are lucky if they have a tent.”

Read the interview with Abdalaziz Alhamza from The New Yorker.

City of Ghosts director Matthew Heineman: ‘Imagine seeing people crucified – every day’

“Imagine walking out of the hotel we’re sat in now and there are a bunch of heads on the fence,” he says “Imagine walking outside and seeing people crucified. That’s what the citizens of Raqqa face every day. So, for me it was important to allow audience members to really empathise and understand.”

Read the article from The Guardian.

Islamic State and its increasingly sophisticated cinema of terror

“The cinematography is as crisp and chilling as a horror movie. Men in orange jumpsuits kneel on a beach beneath a sky of broken clouds. Executioners hover over them, dressed in black, knives aglint. A masked militant reads the death sentence. The camera pans across praying faces. Knives are raised, and 21 men are beheaded, blood spilling into the sand and mixing with the waves.”

Read the article from Los Angeles Times.

Entire Families Are Being Killed By U.S. Airstrikes In Raqqa, Syria

“The airplanes are heavily striking the city, and many of the places they are targeting are empty of ISIS fighters and full of civilians. The number of civilians being killed today is much more than the ISIS members.”

Read the article from The Intercept.


Citizen journalism is playing a crucial role in Aleppo – but it comes at a cost

“For foreign correspondents and locals, Syria is toxic. Besides the dangers of working in regions that are regularly bombed, the so-called Islamic State, or Isis, has frequently targeted journalists, sometimes kidnapping and executing them.”

Continue reading on Wired.

Director Matthew Heineman on the Filmmaking Process

“Every single frame was discerned and talked about. In reality, on a scale of one to 10 in terms of the violence that happened, it is probably like a five.

We were very conscientious of, on one hand, not wanting to turn people off, while on the other hand, wanting to acknowledge the reality of what these guys see and experience on a daily basis. So much of the film is about this war of ideas, this war of propaganda, this war of imagery, this information war.”

Read the article from No Film School.


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