Graffiti Men of the Syrian Uprising

“The spray man " is a name that is being circulated on Syrian social networking sites. Who is he, or rather who are they?

A group of young Syrians in Daraa instigated the protests in their country. Their weapons were not riffles or machine guns, but spray cans which they used to fire their speeches on the walls expressing their opposition to the regime.

“The uprising in Daraa began with the graffiti man, and a group of young men who wrote on walls in Daraa, phrases against the regime, influenced by the Arab Spring/uprisings in the region, slogans like “your time has come Doctor” and then they got apprehended," Hakim Al Baba, a Syrian writer told Al Arabiya.

In the darkness of the night, the spray man sneaks into the streets, remaining out of the sight of security, in order to write slogans against the regime. According to protesters, he was a nuisance to Syrian security men and “thugs” (Shabbiha).

Perhaps the most famous spray man who distressed Syrian authorities is Mohammed Rateb, also known as the tiger of Homs.

Mohammed Rateb and ten men, including some of his friends were escorted to their final resting place on Tuesday.

Moving from Homs to Damascus, Ahmed Al Khaniji was a graduate of the Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and according to a blog that was set up to support him, he disappeared on the eighth of this month, under mysterious circumstances from Bab Sharki city, after being pursued by members of the “thugs” (Shabbiha) carrying knives.

“While the Damascus graffiti man was in prison, a fellow inmate named Rami Al Asheq said he witnessed signs of torture on the man’s body, and his face was beaten up to the point that he couldn’t be fully recognized.”

Due to such events, Syrian authorities have banned the selling of spray paint cans in paint shops to those who fail to provide identification papers.

Original report: Hana Mohammed Bukhsham

Adaptation: Sarah Sfeir


Hakim Al Baba - Syrian writer


Nasser Al Tibi

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