#chicagogirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator

This award-winning documentary, submitted by Syria/USA (English captions when needed) to the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival held our attention from beginning to end. We were witnesses to history in the making and, I hasten to add, this review will cover just a small part of what we saw!

The most unlikely spark plug in the 2012 "Arab Spring" came about as a Syrian-born American college student using Facebook, Skype, Twitter and countless cell phones helped organize the revolution in Syria. Using the social networks' "phone-tree-" type concept, her organizational and language skills plus the ability to gain the trust of the various rebels allowed her to plan demonstrations, parades (complete with escape routes) and expose the brutality of the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship for what it is: a savage and continual human-rights violation! ...about which the United Nations does nothing.

If one of her contacts is captured by Assad's military in Damascus or Homs, she is quickly notified in the US. She already has their sign-on information and passwords, so she promptly shuts down the prisoner's accounts; by the time an investigation begins, there is no account to examine.

When she gets up in the morning, dons her Reeboks and grabs her iPhone, her worried father reminds her not to text while driving. She attends school and has a part-time job, but the rebellion takes most of her time and energy. Revolutionary training reminds the rebels to film the protests, include a landmark building so the location is recognizable, find a way to introduce the date and time but NEVER film the faces of the participants!

There is a massive accumulation of photographic evidence that will prove human rights violations. The death toll of Syrians so far is staggering! The FSA (Free Syria Army) is staffed by former Syrian military who regrouped as a rebel army because they refused to shoot their fellow citizens; they try to protect the protesters. There is a desperate need for munitions and medical supplies.

We are saddened to learn that some of the rebellion organizers and key filmmakers we have come to know are killed during the time we follow the rebellion.

Our heroine has visited Syria several times, always bringing medical supplies and any other kind of assistance she can muster. One of the older fellows says, "Someone who undertakes half a rebellion digs his own grave."