The Georgetown International Relations Club is pleased to welcome Matthew VanDyke, an activist, filmmaker, and North Africa/Middle East expert from the USA. VanDyke graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in Security Studies, but his knowledge was confined to the four walls of a classroom and the pages of his books. To learn firsthand about the region and to make a unique documentary film he spent four years traveling by motorcycle across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. During this four year period, from 2007 to 2011, VanDyke’s adventures took him from the vast reaches of the Mauritanian Sahara desert to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2011, his Libyan friends whom he had remained in contact with since his travels there in 2008, told him about their families and friends being killed by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime as the Libyan revolution began. VanDyke realized that he could not sit by in the comforts of his Baltimore home and watch his friends and their families be slaughtered while he did nothing. He joined the revolution as a rebel fighter and was captured by Gaddafi’s army during a reconnaissance mission in the city of Brega on March 13, 2011. For the next six months he was a prisoner of war in two of Libya’s most notorious prisons, Maktab al-Nasser and Abu Salim. On August 24, 2011 other prisoners broke the lock off of VanDyke’s cell, and together they escaped Abu Salim prison. VanDyke did not return to America, but instead returned to combat on the front lines in Libya.
Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution is a short film that tells the story of the Syrian struggle for freedom as experienced by a 32 year old rebel fighter, Mowya, and a 24 year old female journalist, Nour, in Aleppo, Syria. The film is a 15 minute short that tells why the Syrian people are fighting for their freedom and why they need the support of the world, told through the emotional words of two powerful characters whose lives have been turned upside down and torn apart by war.
See the Facebook event here.