The Stream – How do you tell a story like Syria?

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The Stream – How do you tell a story like Syria?

Six years of brutal war, more than 450,000 people killed, 12 million forced from their homes, and hundreds of thousands risking everything to escape across the Mediterranean in rickety boats. The Syrian civil war is the deadliest conflict of the 21st century so far.

But, after years of grinding violence and headlines, how do you tell a story like Syria?

Filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky’s new documentary, Cries from Syria, has had audiences at recent screenings weeping with its no-holds-barred footage of the aftermath of bombing raids and harrowing testimony from those who have lived through, and are living through, this horror.

But, though individual films or viral images like that of Alan Kurdi, the toddler whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, intermittently draw the public gaze, many say apathy has set in and the world is ignoring Syria.

How can journalists, filmmakers and other storytellers capture our attention long enough to care about Syrians caught up in the conflict? Some say unvarnished footage of the reality of war is the answer, that the media should show the bodies of dead children, that it should show the gruesome reality of what bombs dropped from the air do to people.

Others warn this could desensitise audiences to such footage. And that the dignity of those who find themselves caught between the warring sides should be protected.

In this episode we ask, how do you make people care about Syria? And for what?

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On The Stream: Sanitising Syria. How should storytellers approach the deadliest conflict of the 21st century so far?

Thumbnail: Boys injured during a bomb blast on a crowded Syrian bus convoy wait to travel in Aleppo, Syria on April 19, 2017. (REUTERS/ANMAR ABDULLAH)

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