In January 2014, a new Jihadist group invaded Syria and set up its headquarters in Raqqa. Since then the Islamic State they established has become the most extremist terrorist group in the modern history of the world.
This film depicts the account of one activist based in Raqqa who has been keeping a diary to record the reality of what life is like now under the Islamic State and how everything has changed for worse.
Before ISIS took over, the men would gather in the streets on Fridays after prayers to have long chats. Now if they do so, they risk being killed because they are immediately accused of plotting against the regime. Crowds still gather but only when they have been told to watch a lashing, stoning, or beheading. And those executing the punishment take great pride in it. They proudly read off the offense committed so the crowd can feel intimidated. The severed heads of those who dare to oppose the system are hung from fences and lampposts in public spaces as a warning. One man was beaten, beheaded, and then crucified in front of his mother’s house for all his family and friends to see.
The religious police patrol the streets looking out for all those who are not complying with their strict rules: women must always wear veils, there should be no smoking, you’re not allowed to speak your mind, male doctors can’t treat female patients, all business owners must pay a special tax to ISIS, televisions are prohibited, men must wear their pants above their ankles, and the list goes on.
As the days turn into weeks and months, tension builds and the criminal acts against the innocent become even more macabre. People are no longer able to afford food, everybody is forced to take special sharia classes, men and women are being brutally punished for breaking laws they didn’t even know existed, and the once vibrant nation seems to be sinking into a deep pit of despair and hopelessness. Those who are able to leave, risk their lives to run away. Those who remain see no end to the suffering.
Will it ever stop?