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Gaza’s Citizen Journalists Chronicle Life in War: Living the News, Not Just Covering It

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Plestia Alaqad, a 22-year-old Instagrammer from Gaza, became a war reporter during Israel’s assault on Gaza. Her viral video, showing her unflinching reaction to airstrikes near her building, caught the attention of the world. Alaqad’s journey from posting everyday life in Gaza to becoming a war reporter happened quickly, as she began covering the destruction and struggles of people in the enclave.

With no international journalists allowed into Gaza, Alaqad and other young reporters used social media to document the war’s impact. Alaqad’s Instagram following grew from 4,000 to 4.2 million as she shared intimate moments from the conflict. She aimed to show her followers the human side of the war, connecting with them and providing an intimate view of the daily struggles faced by Palestinians in Gaza.

Despite the danger and challenges of reporting in the war-torn region, Alaqad continued to document the destruction, often grappling with the fear of losing her family. After 45 days of reporting, she left Gaza, but still felt guilt about being able to leave when others could not. From exile in Melbourne, she continues to follow events in Gaza, staying up all night and trying to stay connected to the news from her homeland.

Alaqad’s story highlights the role of social media in providing an alternative view of conflicts and connecting people emotionally to the events happening in far-off places. Her experience also sheds light on the struggles faced by journalists and reporters working in dangerous conditions to bring the realities of war to the public.

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Photo credit amp.theguardian.com

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