One of the most significant aspects of the wave of protests and uprisings that began in Syria in 2011 was the use of the cell phone camera as a tool of documentation, political activism, and creative expression. With professional journalists and major news networks barred from entering the country, Syrian citizens took it upon themselves to record their own protests as well as the violent reactions they provoked from members and supporters of the Assad regime. In the first few months of protests (March–June 2011), these recordings were virtually the only images coming out of Syria. Gradually, however, exiled political activists smuggled cell phones, cameras, and laptops into Syria with the specific aim of documenting protests and violence.
“To me he’s a figure at Algiers airport: a man who was thin then, wearing a Che Guevara beret.” Thus the controversial lawyer Jacques Vergès reminisces in Barbet Schroeder’s fine documentary, Terror’s Advocate (2007), speaking of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez — known as Carlos—the Venezuelan terrorist and revolutionary presently imprisoned in Poissy, France, for the 1975 rue Toullier murder of two French intelligence agents in Paris.