Syrian-American journalist Halla Barakat embodied the struggle of the Syrian people for freedom. Halla and her activist mother Orouba were found murdered in their home in Istanbul on September 22, 2017.
This is not a eulogy for Halla Barakat, because Halla Barakat is not dead. No. Actually she is more alive than ever. Whoever thinks they can kill Halla is a fool, because Halla is a spirit that cannot be killed.
This spirit is like a tumultuous river that flows beyond the limitations of our temporal, physical world. It sweeps away anyone who tries to obstruct it, and breaks any dam that tries to block it. It spreads out into streams and tributaries, and floods every flat plain with the fertile silt of revolution. The rockier the terrain, the more violent its rapids become.
It takes hold of anyone who turns to it with a pure heart and a hunger for freedom. Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Malcolm X were all possessed by this spirit. In return, they were blessed with the bravery to speak out against tyranny.
At 23-years-old, Halla Barakat, a Syrian-American journalist who had just graduated from Istanbul Sehir University in the field of political science, did not stay long enough in our realm for her name to resonate as much as those mentioned above, but she was nonetheless part of the same spirit.
In her short period on this earth, she was already well-known for her activism and helping of refugees. Following in the footsteps of her mother Orouba, an outspoken critic of the Assad regime in Syria, Halla embodied the struggle of the Syrian people for freedom.
She felt the pain of every single Syrian buried alive beneath the rubble of their homes, due to the regime’s barrel bombs. She grieved for every Syrian who drowned in the Mediterranean while trapped in the lower deck over an overcrowded boat of people seeking sanctuary in Europe. For her, every Syrian lost to this war was like losing a member of her family.
Halla was the hand that reached out across the barbed wire fences to the children inside the refugee camps. She was the arms that embraced the honourable Syrian men and women who had lost everything to this war. She was the voice that continued to speak the truth when everyone else’s throats had become sore from shouting. While others turned their back on the Omran Daqneeshes and Alan Kurdis of this world, Halla and her mother remained by their side.
At the same time, Halla also embodied the so called “American Dream.” She was born in North Carolina and wanted to eventually return to the US to continue to represent the Syrian struggle there. Her ambition was to one day become an anchorwoman or a reporter for a top US-based news organisation. Halla could have been the next Christiane Amanpour. ERTAN KARPAZLI TRT