The scale of the crisis and destruction in Syria is mind-numbing. The country is “a slaughterhouse, a complete meltdown of humanity, the apex of horror, “ according to one United Nation’s official.
The war has killed close to half a million people; half of the country’s 22 million population has been forced from their homes. The Syrian Centre for Policy Research says a total of 11.5% of the entire Syrian population has either been wounded or killed. Recently, Amnesty International released a report saying 13,000 Syrians had been hanged in a military prison between 2011-2015. They were doctors, lawyers, activists, fathers, husbands and sons.
In this edition of Into the Deep, the Global Voices podcast where we dig deep into one topic that isn’t getting the media coverage it deserves, we are digging deep into the resistance in Syria.
The Syrian civil war, now in its sixth year, may be the most documented war in history. But to people outside the country, it may also be the most confusing.
We see heart-breaking tweets from a 7-year old Syrian girl named Bana in besieged Eastern Aleppo, and then we see our friends sharing a news article telling us that Bana doesn’t exist and is a propaganda tool created by the West.
Bana does exist. Her videos were verified by comparing them to satellite imagery. And trusted activists and doctors working in eastern Aleppo also confirmed to the Guardian and the New York Times via Skype and WhatsApp, that Bana and her mother are who they say they are. Millions of images, videos, blogs, tweets and audio files about the war have been shared on social media. Some have been contextualized by news organizations and some have been de-contextualized by propaganda machines.
So how do we wade through all the news and propaganda?
When we want to truly understand what’s going on in Syria, we, at Global Voices, always turn to Marcell Shehwaro. She’s a 32-year-old blogger and activist from Aleppo, Syria.
Marcell has been writing an evocative series for Global Voices since 2014, called “Dispatches From Syria”, where she describes her life in Aleppo and her eventual exile outside of Syria. In 2015, the series won a 2015 Online Journalism Award. The judges praised her “intensely personal writing” for finding “the gray areas in a war usually told from polar extremes.”
In this episode, Marcell is joined by Joey Ayoub, the Global Voices Middle East and North Africa editor, who helps us understand what viewing the Syrian resistance through Marcell's eyes and pen means.
The inspiring work of all our Global Voices authors, translators and editors made this episode possible. So, a big thank you to all of you out there.