In light of the current conflict in Gaza, it is important to stay informed on the horrors that the Palestinian people have endured due to Israel’s various attacks and blockades. While Israel has made it incredibly difficult for Palestinians to use their voice, an incredibly courageous Palestinian woman has been working hard to do just that, and her name is Bisan.

Bisan Owda, known as ‘Hakawatia’ (The Storyteller), is a Palestinian activist, filmmaker and journalist. Since the beginning of the conflict on Oct. 7 2023, Owda has utilized Instagram and livestreams to document the plight of Palestinians during Israel’s continuous bombardment in occupied Palestinian territory. Her videos have garnered massive amounts of attention online, making her a crucial news source during the conflict.

Owda was raised in Beit Hanoun, a Palestinian city in the northeast region of the Gaza Strip. Before she began covering the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian war, Owda told tales of her Palestinian heritage and gushed about the beauty of her culture. She worked with the United Nations on gender equality as part of the U.N. Women’s Youth Gender Innovation Agora Forum, using her storytelling abilities to bring attention to femicides and gender-based discrimination. She also did educational videos on the Palestinian Arabic dialect for the YouTube channel, Easy Languages.

Her life was upended after October of 2023 when the Israeli Defense Forces told Gaza residents to evacuate. Owda and her family were forced to leave Beit Hanoun to relocate to Al-Shifa Medical Complex. Their neighborhood was struck by Israeli airstrikes and her family’s home, as well as her office, were destroyed.

Since then, Owda posts semi-regular videos documenting her and other Palestinian lives and experiences under her Instagram handle @wizard_bisan1. She notably starts off her videos with some variation of the phrase “I’m still alive.” Through video journalism, Owda has revealed and narrated the absolute horrors of the conflict, including bombings of hospitals, limited food supply, displaced families and the tragic loss of life. She has shed light into the lives of Palestinian children as well, reporting how children have died at the hands of airstrikes, gunfire and starvation.

Throughout her reporting of the immense amount of devastation in Gaza, Owda provides glimmers of hope. Her coverage has highlighted the sense of community that Palestinians have maintained during this tragedy. Community is built even as children and adults work to restore bombed-out hospitals, or aid each other in finding food and water.

Yet, despite Owda’s efforts, the overall context is still inherently grim. She often admits that her coverage of the conflict may result in her own death, as well as her belief that she will die, on her social media posts. She’s acknowledged that without a change, many more Palestinians will die. The death toll of the genocide will only keep increasing, and Owda has said that she’s surprised she’s still living. Everyday she puts herself at risk to reveal what mainstream media will not show, whether it be the hospital sieges or street executions. Most importantly, Owda is holding the world accountable for being complicit in the ongoing genocide; while also showing gratitude for those who share her coverage.

“My message to the world: You are not innocent of what is happening to us, you as governments or peoples that support Israel’s annihilation of my people. We will not forgive you, we will not forgive you, humanity will not forgive you, we will not forget, even if we die, the history will never forget,” she wrote in an Instagram caption. “A message to friends: Thank you and the supporters around the world. You have been compassionate and very strong. We ask you not to lose hope, even if the world seems completely unfair and your efforts have not yet resulted in a ceasefire.”

Despite the hope she provides for others, she has also shared how her hope for survival has diminished over time,“I no longer have any hope of survival like I had at the beginning of this genocide, and I am certain that I will die in the next few weeks or maybe days,” she said. “I suffer from nightmares that … so closely resemble reality that I no longer differentiate between reality and dream.”

Though her hope diminishes, we must not give up; as she hasn’t given up either. We must echo her calls for a permanent ceasefire and fight for a free Palestine alongside her.