Meet 13-year-old journalist Janna Jihad who records her messages from the world's most dangerous war zone

Meet 13-year-old journalist Janna Jihad who records her messages from the world's most dangerous war zone

Janna Jihad Ayyad wants to show you what is happening in Palestine and Israel and there is no dearth of bravery and courage inside this teen who wants to report in the future for CNN and Fox News.

In the face of Trump declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital, there has been a resounding criticism pouring in from all corners of the world.

With Palestinian senior officials drawing the attention towards the grave injustice taking place every day on the disputed land, there exists one civilian who has taken it upon herself to bring the world's attention to the solemn Palestine affairs from the epicenter itself.

Meet Janna Jihad Ayyad, who will be turning 12 this year in April and considers herself to be one of the youngest journalists in the world and reports live from occupied West Bank.

A purview of the Palestinian affairs

In leaderless Palestine, Janna, who is a native of the village of Nabi Saleh in occupied West Bank, began her journey as a reporter at the tender age of seven while participating in demonstrations against the Israeli occupation in her village. 

"Not a lot of journalists are sending our message from Palestine to the world, so I thought, 'why not send my message … and show them what is happening in my village'," Janna revealed in an interview with Al Jazeera.

With the goal of bringing awareness to the widespread havoc and everyday social inflammation caused by Israeli soldiers, Janna had nobody to look up to in her family for guidance or inspiration. However, Janna found light in her family through her uncle Bilal Tamimi's work.

Bilal, a photographer, had extensively chronicled the violence inflicted by Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh, which in turn partially inspired Janna to take up the job in one of the world's most dangerous war-zones. "I talk about what is happening," Janna explained. "I see occupation, soldiers, cannons, and police. They do a lot of things to make us go from our land," she added further.

But the reason that pushed her towards pursuing journalism full throttle was the death of two men in her village that included her cousin, Mustafa Tamimi, and another uncle, Rushdie Tamimi, the former who was killed by a gas canister while the latter was fatally shot in his kidney.  

Their violence-triggered demise worked as a catalyst for Janna to take up journalism and bring the world to her home.

Since their killings, Janna began traveling far and wide with the only weapon in her arsenal—her mother's iPhone that she used for recording incidents, violent outbreaks and everything in between. From protest marches, violence against children to illegal detainment, her weapon of choice helped her helm together all the sightings she witnessed, which she put out for the world to see through social media.

"My camera is my gun," Janna stated. "The camera is stronger than the gun ... I can send my message to small people, and they can send it to others," she added.

The pros and cons of being a child journalist 

As a teenager, Janna thinks that her age is helping her gain an advantage over adult reporters.

"The soldiers catch the big journalists and take their cameras," she explained.

In her own words, Janna describes herself as an Arabic and English news personality, with more than 264k followers on the Facebook page. Both her Twitter and Facebook page entails numerous videos of herself confronting Israeli soldiers and also participating in protests. 

On being quizzed about what she felt about her daughter's involvement in Palestinian journalism, Nawal Tamimi told Al-Jazeera the fear she was living with every day for Janna's safety. But at the same time, the pride in her daughter's work was incomparable and limitless. 

"I am proud of my daughter because as a child, she tells her message to the world. She shares her fears, what she feels, and the problems of attending school," Nawal explained. "But I am scared for her when the army comes in the middle of the night and tear-gases our house, and we wake up in smoke … They attack our people who demonstrate against the settlers and the Israeli occupation," she added.

In an age when children fool around, play and attend school, Janna took the path untrodden and entered the field to bring awareness about her countrymen's plight; robbing her of the chance to live a fulfilled childhood. 

"She should be playing and studying, but in our life, it's not a choice," her uncle Bilal told Al Jazeera, noting that the family boasts of a history of activism that goes back to 1948. "We must teach our children to not accept humiliation and not be cowards. We are under occupation. We cannot teach our children silence; they must fight for their freedom," he said.

As of now, Janna envisions herself to be a reporter for American news networks Fox News or CNN so that she can bring global cognizance to Palestine's issues. "They do not talk about Palestine, and I want to make reports on Palestine," she said.

Despite her childhood being marred by hostility, violence and deaths, there still lives a young 13-year-old inside Jenna who wants to see the world around her become a better place. 

Asked what an ideal world would look like in her eyes, Janna, responded: "I want it to be pink."

We hope you get to see that day very, very soon, Janna.

Watch her story here:

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