The Observers

Church attacks in Syria, bird slaughters in Saudi Arabia, and more

3 min

This show is made up entirely of amateur images. We've seen time and time again how images captured by ordinary citizens then uploaded onto the Web can change history, or at least shift the balance of power. This week, we take a look back at some of those moments.


Story 1: Syria

We begin today with the civil war in Syria, and a reminder that after two and a half years, the conflict is more sectarian than ever. Sunni Muslim jihadists – many of them from outside Syria – have apparently succeeded in winning the hearts of minds of many of the Syrian rebels, and they are taking their war to Bashar al Assad, who’s an Allawite Muslim. Caught in the middle are Syria’s Christians. Our Observer in Raqqa in the north explains how Islamist fighters attacked two churches – because they didn’t like the bells ringing.


Story 2: Saudi Arabia

Now to the deserts of Saudi Arabia, where hunting has gone high-tech. Hunters have always used bird calls to lure their prey – little whistles, often home-made. But in Saudi Arabia that doesn’t cut it anymore. Hunters use sophisticated electronics with powerful sound systems. Our Observer says the devices can turn a hunt into a slaughter.


Story 2: World

Now for our weekly roundup of other stories and images sent in by our Observers.

First stop, Caracas, Venezuela, with a video filmed just after a fatal road accident. The people you see running are not, unfortunately, rushing to help wounded survivors. They are chasing a pickup truck that was caught in the accident. A pickup carrying a load of meat that they want to steal. Our Observer says thieves often ambush delivery vehicles on the roads, but he was shocked to see it happen when people were lying injured just a few yards away.

Now to Cairo, and a video shot by our Observer Wael Eskandar last Sunday. More than 50 people were killed in clashes that day between the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the army coup that removed them from power. You see a Muslim Brotherhood supporter being beaten by a crowd – and the police standing by and watching. Now Wael is no fan of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he says the police should at least do their job, and enforce the law.

Last stop today, Bujumbura in Burundi, and the so-called “mama vendors” who sell traditional wraps at the market. They have been protesting – topless – and our Observer Mama Yvette told us why. A fire destroyed their stalls at the central market in January, and since then they’ve been selling at a more expensive private market. They want the government to give them a break, and negotiate lower duty.

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