Raising awareness: the camera as a weapon

In a world where smartphones become normality, it is not surprising to see a clear shift in video reporting. The increased normalization of smartphones has made it so that anyone can record an event, a protest or any other situation they would like to report and upload it on social media to raise awareness. This exact topic is explored by Donatella Della Ratta in her book “Shooting a Revolution”. In particular, she discusses the weaponization of cameras throughout Chapter 7, “Syria’s Image-Makers: Daesh Militants and Non-Violent Activists”. She does so by focusing on the Arab Spring and in particular, the case of the Syrian revolution. Throughout the chapter she emphasizes her point, how the cameras can act as weapon, through the use of a clear example, which is the use of cameras by Daesh (the Islamic State) and on the other hand, activists trying to raise awareness on the brutal actions of the Syrian state. Therefore, she demonstrates how the camera can be a really powerful weapon, used both for the encouragement of violence or the exact opposite, reporting violence and raising awareness.

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Photo on Refugees Welcome Italia’s instagram page

In the case of the Refugees Welcome organization the use of camera is mainly to raise awareness on their cause. Their camera becomes a weapon to fight against the right-wing rhetoric demonizing migrants and refugees. Especially, in the case of Italy, where right-wing politicians such as Salvini take it upon themselves to constantly make tweets that show migrants as criminals. This is particularly evident as the use of the camera by Refugees Welcome is mainly to humanize the migrants and refugees, showing Italians the reality of who refugees actually are, and not how they are depicted.Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 01.13.13.png

For instance, when opening the Instagram page of the Italian sector of Refugees Welcome it is immediately visible how the organization is attempting to show refugees in a different light, trying to humanize them by showing them their everyday lives and interaction with families that have taken them in. This is shown by the fact that in each post, the organization shows the migrant with the family in an extremely normal situation, such as Sunday family lunch.This can be seen as a weapon because it counteracts all the negative propaganda and rhetoric being carried on by right-wing parties.

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