Updated 10/10/2012 04:17 PM
SU remembers grad student killed in Syria
The Syracuse University community came together to remember a student gone too soon. Bassel Shahade was just 28 when he was killed covering Syria's post-revolution violence. Sarah Blazonis has more.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Friends who gathered at Hendricks Chapel for a memorial service in Bassel Shahade's honor say he loved two things: Filmmaking and his home country of Syria. Several said they tried to talk him out of returning to Syria, but Shahade could not be swayed.
"Bassel was a very special person. He was in love with life and was always very confident and happy and moving forward," said SU grad student Mireille Bakhos.
Bassel Shahade's life was cut short on May 28th, but people who knew him say he made the most of every moment he was given.
"He was a great guy, full of fun and always had a smile on his face. He was a great collaborator and loved working with his fellow students," said Owen Shapiro, SU College of Visual and Performing Arts Director of Film.
Shahade wanted to use that talent as a tool.
Several at Wednesday's memorial service say he wanted to bring attention to the violence rocking Syria.
"We expressed our fear and our concern, but no, none at all from him. He just couldn't wait to go back," said SU grad student June Kyu Park.
He was also training fellow citizen journalists.
Shapiro said, "How to use a camera, how to document and communicate what was going on in the country so that others would know, so that if his voice was silenced, other voices wouldn't be. So if his voice was silenced, it would be impossible to silence everyone."
Speakers said Shahade faced many obstacles along the way. He was arrested, imprisoned and said in emails that he longed to return to SU and his Fulbright Scholarship.
Shahade was killed when a building he was in was shelled.
Many say though he is gone, he will never truly be silenced.
Bakhos said, "Bassel is one of hundreds and thousands of young and old people that are dying every day in Syria. And I think this is what counts for Bassel more. To let people know why he died."
"He just loved the human, he loved the world. I think he's still teaching us and he's still doing what he really wanted to do," Park said.
Other events are planned to remember Shahade. A benefit concert is planned for Wednesday at 7 p.m. Musicians Malek Jandali and Mohamed Alsiadi will perform at Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College. There will also be screenings of Shahade's films.