Society

#Aleppo: Every 10 minutes

Article published on Dec. 15, 2016
Article published on Dec. 15, 2016

News of the horrors in Aleppo is everywhere. How are we supposed to react to the juxtaposition of everyday life and terror?

Roughly every 10 minutes I click on "new updates." Every 10 minutes I get at least 250 new tweets written in terror, despair, helplessness. United by a hashtag: #Aleppo. The people who stayed behind in Aleppo are posting shocking images of bodies strewn across debris-covered Syrian streets. The rest post their own shock.

267 new updates.

Aleppo is posting its "last updates" - emotional reports, disturbing images, cries for help, appeals to the world to do something. Farewell messages that you probably hear from the dying (I have never witnessed anyone die), who are not ready to go.

The world is posting messages of support: "We are with you," "We are praying for you." It posts comparisons. "Why is #Kanye trending, while Aleppo is dying?" Comparisons to Sarajevo, to Srebrenica, to Rwanda, to Warsaw. It posts: "What happened to 'never again'?" It posts accusations. The EU is to blame for closing its borders. Barack Obama is to blame for allowing Syria to overstep red lines. It is posting, posting frenetically to #saveAleppo. It is posting against voicelessness.

366 new updates.

With support from Russia, the Assad regime successfully wrought back control of the eastern part of Aleppo in November. These few kilometres are now being stormed and bombarded. The UN Human Rights Council reported a veritable execution of 82 civilians. In the middle of the street.

209 new updates.

Lina Shamy, a citizen of Aleppo, writes on Twitter: "Call your MPs and governments, write to them, challenge them to stop the genocide!" There will be some people who will pick up the phone. A young French woman urges people to write to the Russian ambassador in Brussels, posting the ambassador’s personal address on Facebook. A Polish woman living in Berlin is so outraged that she calls for a solidarity march from Berlin to Aleppo. In Istanbul, London, Paris and many other cities, people have spontaneously taken to the streets to protest against the massacres in Syria. Others are reposting photos and articles, sharing them with friends - or simply closing their newsfeeds. "Today I feel like a failure," writes journalist Janine di Giovanni. "My war reports over the last 25 years haven’t been able to change anything."

317 new updates...