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e-flux journal: "An Introduction to the New Syrian National Archive"


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In the December issue of e-flux journal, Ali Shamseddine and John Rich writes about the countless images and videos from the Syrian civil war that have circulated online. Taken together, these images and videos form an internet archive of wartorn Syrian today: “A torrent of images of Syrian heroics, deaths, conversations, and screams flooded the web as soon as the revolution broke out. These new Syrian diaries were formed by digital images and videos of the everyday. Syrians diligently used social media (blogs, articles, and forum entries), unleashing massive amounts of information documenting events and ascertaining facts. All of this has been archived on the web for circulation and use.”

The authors celebrate this archive as a grassroots counter-narrative of the conflict, one that subverts the narrative circulated by the Assad regime: “The Syrians are creating their own archive and are using the web to forge new connections in order to replace old ones that are no longer relevant.” But they also express concern that the constant stream of horrific images will desensitize us to the human dimension of Syria’s civil war: “The speed with which the archive of Syrian victims is updated, shared, exchanged, and discussed on the internet places Syrians and their cause on equal informational footing with news, entertainment, and digital games.”

The full article is available here.