The Syrian intelligentsia observe the destruction of their homeland

SYRIA: How does one survive in times of war? By forgetting, or by remembering...?

Our Memory Belongs To Us begins with a generic quote from George Orwell. «Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.» We’ve heard generic aphorisms from 1984 deployed so many times before to criticise such a massive plethora of scenarios that applying such a quotation to the Syrian democide is a borderline ridiculous minimisation. Assad’s Syria is so, so much worse than an Orwell quote.

According to the most recent UN stats, more than 300,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2014. The wider death toll is thought to be closer to 600,000 – much, much more than the deaths Orwell ever witnessed in Spain, for example. There are a further 5.6 million registered refugees.

Our Memory Belongs To Us, a film by Rami Farah
Our Memory Belongs To Us, a film by Rami Farah

Statement of intent

It slowly becomes apparent that this opening Orwell quote is less a frame of reference to encourage the engagement of an international audience (which I’m sure it also is) than it is a statement of intent too. This group of four men, who managed to leave their homeland, want to reclaim and rejuvenate the narrative that they were denied while . . .

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Aliide Naylor
Aliide Naylor is a British journalist and editor, and the author of 'The Shadow in the East: Vladimir Putin and the New Baltic Front' (I.B. Tauris). Her work has been published with Vice, the Guardian, and Politico Europe among others. She tweets: @Aliide_N
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