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NZ eyes in Syria, and they’re looking at life differently now

Sep 7th, 2015 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Latest News, News

Emma Beals in Syria with a press bullet proof vest on

Emma Beals says the daily life of a journalist on the Syrian border ranges from difficult to impossible depending on who controlled which area.

THE crisis in Syria has changed the life of one New Zealander.

Emma Beals reached Syria in 2012 to cover the conflict for Vice magazine and stayed two years.

Beals says for most who enter a country at war they do not observe for long as it quickly becomes a way of life.

“All my friends there are refugees. When things would happen in Syria everyone was impacted. We were living in the day-to-day midst of the fall out of war, and that’s tough.”

Beals says the daily life of a journalist on the Syrian border ranges from difficult to impossible depending on who controlled which area.

Syria is different to most countries, even most war-torn countries, as there isn’t any support once you cross the border.

“You depend entirely on your contacts, your translator, some good management and planning, and a lot of luck.”

She says she felt compelled to report on the humanitarian issues but doesn’t believe it helped change the fate of the Syrian people.

“Having seen the impact the photo one little boy made on the international outcry this week, I wonder if we made much impact at all.”

Beals said John Key should listen to recent online campaigns and public outcry by doubling the quota and increase funding for refugee services.

Emma Beals working in Syria as a journalist.

Emma Beals has worked as a journalist in Syria for two years.

“New Zealanders should feel blessed for their good fortunes and be willing to share that with those less fortunate, because in another time or place or lifetime it could be any one of us.”

However taking in more refugees and providing more aid might not be the best solution to the problem.

“Almost every single Syrian I have ever met just wants to go home. Until there’s a solution to the violence the rest is a bandaid.”

Beals said recent events inspired her to think of more ways to highlight the impact of the conflict in a more relatable form, which she now does through documentaries.

“Being so close to a conflict for so long has taught me an immense amount about the human condition, about what human beings are capable of, about resilience and survival.”

 

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is A journalist with an eye for imagery, an ear for b-side tracks, and a nose for Sasquatch.
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