“For the wellbeing of the world, don’t turn a blind eye on us
This is Janna Jihad, reporting from occupied Jerusalem”
Janna Jihad is a 10-year old girl who lives with her mum in Nabi Salih village close to Ramallah in Palestine. Over the past three years, she has been trying to raise awareness about the persecution and oppression Palestinians face everyday through amateur journalism. With her little handheld camera she shares footage of the daily plight of Palestinians through her social media account. “I aspire to a Palestine where our homes are not raided and our families are not detained and there is no bloodshed. For the wellbeing of the world do not turn a blind eye on us” Janna Jihad says. All she does is to simply show the world community what’s happening in Palestine through her old-fashioned camera.
Janna shoots almost every protest in West Bank. She describes her goal as to become the voice of occupied Palestine. In order to lay out the persecution and oppression that Palestinians face daily she does not shy away from stepping into the most dangerous places and filming the clashes on her amateur camera. Janna, who shares her news footage via her social media accounts, invites everyone to Palestine to see the truth on the ground. Little girl with a big heart who dreams of a world where children are not killed or detained and calls out to everyone:
“I aspire to a Palestine where there is no house-raids at night, no random detentions, no bloodshed and to a world which belongs to no one but belongs to everyone. I believe we can do that together. For the wellbeing of the world do not turn a blind eye on us, stand with us”
The Voice of Her Country
When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, journalist she replies. To the question “Why do you want to be a journalist” she answers “I have already started practising. Because so many things are happening here and there is no journalist to report. Many things go unreported. When my friend Mustafa, my uncle Rushdu got killed, when other friends got injured on the street everyone was silent. Palestinians resisting on the streets were not even mentioned. I had to show that the negative portrayal of Palestinians in the Israeli press was not true. I always looked up to journalists and aspired to be one. It is important that people are aware that news reports on Palestine are insufficient. Because it does not draw the attention of world…
I am doing this on behalf of Palestinian children. I would like to let the world know what we children go through, what Palestinians go through” which also underscores international community’s apathy toward Palestinian issue.
Janna travelled to France, Jordan, USA and Saudi Arabia in order to participate events that engage with Palestinian issue and she never stops trying for the future of her country. Though she is very young she steps up to take responsibility and become the voice of her people.
From day one Janna Jihad asserted that she is reporting news on behalf of Palestinian children, and she wants to work in Fox News and CNN in the future. “They are big channels that give Palestinian news with a wrong angle. People hear about things around the world through their shows and programs, as they are the most powerful broadcasters worldwide. I would like to show the world lives, dreams and struggles of Palestinians to the world in the right way.”
News on Palestine are Biased and Few
Janna Jihad is in form five and is the only child of a divorced couple. She was only seven when she started reporting news on Palestine while staying with her mum who is a civil servant at Social Development Ministry in Palestine.
One day as she was sitting at home with her mum they started firing at their village and Janna started shooting it on her mum’s smartphone while telling what they are experiencing live. After noticing the footage on her phone mum posted it online. So this is how Janna’s amateur journalism started. Janna’s maternal uncle also is a journalist whom she always looked up to. Disturbed by the absence of news reports on Palestine in the world press she asked herself “why do I not do it myself, right now?” Regardless of her young age she took it upon herself to do the task. Since that day she has been reporting primarily the protests in the West Bank, raids on her village to the world.
Janna usually uses media outlets such as Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Meanwhile news channels often use her footage in the primetime as well.
She receives both positive and negative comments on the news footage that she shares on social media. While majority of them are support messages there are also viewers who think her news reports are biased.
“I don’t care about them. If you want to know what is really happening here, what is truth and what is not come to Palestine and see with your own eyes!” Janna repeatedly says…
Although Worried the Family Supports Her
Janna Jihad notes that Israeli soldiers are treating journalists badly. “They take away the cameras of Palestinian journalists, even break them. They try to injur them. Many news go unreported due to Israeli intervention to obstruct it. Palestinians live in adversity but Palestinian journalists’ life is worse. They never took away my camera off of my hand. However once they came into my village I was playing with my friends in the garden. They started to fire at that moment. So I started to shoot it on my smartphone. When they noticed that they hit me, mocked me and dropped my phone. “Stop recording or else we will arrest you” they threatened me” Janna says describing the hard time she had.
Janna says her family is quite supportive of her. She is even more passionate and determined about becoming a journalist thanks to her family’s unwavering support.
“Got Both Action and Hope…”
While giving an account of the events happening in Palestine Janna notes that Israel due to its racist policies oppresses not only Muslims but also Palestinian Christians as if she is reliving those moments again.
Janna’s latest news report was on 5th March 2017 in which she shows how soldiers entered her village, fired on her house and others, and threw gas bombs as she describes how frightened and anxious they are about their future. Israeli soldiers do not like Palestinians record the ordeal they go through. So they shove and manhandle these civilians whenever they find the opportunity. Brave Janna records even those moments on her camera and goes live five times, she shares the footage she couldn’t live stream later. Janna reports all kinds of news about Palestine in and outside her village.
She also makes a feature on prohibition of azan, call to prayers in occupied territories. Janna highlight that Israelis are so self-centred and have zero tolerance to colours, religions and languages that are not their own.
“In our struggle with them, we have both action and hope. God is with us hopefully” she adds.
Janna is a little soul, who suffers the ordeal of living in a Muslim geography under oppression, and she tries her best to do as much good as she can.
She harbours the pain of her killed uncle and friends, and wants to lay bare the truth that the world community tends to ignore.
While the occupier Israel government for her own interests and to ensure the continuity of its ancient (!) existence keeps committing murders and crimes toward Muslims openly and shamelessly before the international community, Janna is a voice calling out to the countries worldwide that remain oblivious to the plight of Palestinians.
In the countries she visits she addresses the audience with this tragic line:
“I come from Palestine, the country of peace where there is no peace”
Regardless of her young age, Janna stands are a role model with her bravery and foresight. She spends the prime of her childhood struggling to be the voice of oppressed in an occupied village. Without knowing how it feels to walk freely on the streets of a prosperous and peaceful Palestine she advocates the rights of thousands children like her
Without fear in the face of death she stands up to the Israeli soldiers to defend her friends and relatives.
Sometimes she does not even have time for that as she wakes up to the sound of firearms…
She does not waver; she does not give up; she takes to the streets fully aware of everything. She grows up and so does her dream that one day her country will be free.
She reports from Palestine:
“Kindness is like sun. Even if you plug your ears, and close your eyes you will feel its warmness one day.”
One child can change the world; she can inspire us, all.
What is more promising than a child who builds her dreams on a world where injustice comes to an end while kindness and justice prevails?