Lens for Change
23 Nov 2009
Intrepid journalist, photographer, peace campaigner, national representative and spokesperson are all words that describe Mahmoud Jabari, an 18 year-old reporter from the Westbank.
Attention: This article has been imported from our old websiteWhile we've taken every precaution to ensure that the content of this article remains intact, it may contain errors.
‘I believe in journalism as a way to improve the conditions of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. I also see it as a way to defend human rights and to help achieve better understanding between nations.’ Mahmoud Jabari
Intrepid journalist, photographer, peace campaigner, national representative and spokesperson are all words that describe Mahmoud Jabari.
The 18 year-old, who lives in Hebron in the Westbank, was inspired to become a reporter when he heard the news about courageous Arabic cameraman, Mazen Dana, killed while filming in Baghdad.
Mahmoud was just 13 years old when his opinions, research and photographs of the conflict were first published. ‘I was always thinking about the other side but I only met them through my daily interaction with the army,’ he explains. ‘It led me to ask lots of questions: Aren’t they just ordinary people? and Why can’t we talk to each other? So, I created a magazine in my school to address issues on both sides.’ The idea gained attention from his peers and many were eager to get involved.
While serving as Mayor for Children in his hometown, Mahmoud established an official group to empower teenagers in his area. A local newspaper gave them their own page and this became a vital outlet for expressing their views.
Recognising their efforts, a local NGO awarded the group funds to offer media training from professional journalists and photographers. With this support, Young Reporters Across Borders was born. Now, they are working to create a small media centre with professional equipment to continue the publication of their work.
Mahmoud’s peace activities have not just been confined to the media. In 2007, he attended a Seeds of Peace camp in America where, for the first time, he met Israeli people face to face. ‘This was a real motivation to continue the mission of understanding that I had started,’ he recalls. ‘At Seeds of Peace I was made Peace Ambassador. It was the beginning of a bigger quest.’
Through a summer programme, hosted by Peace it Together, Mahmoud learnt how to promote peace through dialogue and filmmaking. It gave him the necessary confidence to co-ordinate and lead a video conference between Palestinian and Jewish teenagers.
Not surprisingly, Mahmoud was quickly recognised as a Global Teen Leader, for his extraordinary work towards helping to create a safer, more peaceful society.
‘Being a Leader made me understand that our responsibility as peace activists is not just locally in our communities but globally,’ he says. ‘We have to work hard to create a better life in this world. It can only come from international collaboration and open-mindedness towards other nations and cultures.’
Contact: Young Reporters Across Borders,
2nd Floor, Al-Fallah Building,
Habailriah Street, Hebron, Palestine
Left: Mahmoud Jabari at work
Photo: © Hazem Bader
If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation
Donating helps us keep reporting on positive news