Weekly media digest

Bread crisis, 10 years on in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and a Syrian-born artist on identity and belonging abroad

SyriaUntold brings you the latest edition of our digest. We want to share with you the news, features, investigative pieces and long-form essays that we're reading this week.

26 March 2021

Illustration by Rami Khoury

Lebanon: Torture of Syrian refugees arbitrarily detained on counter-terror charges (Amnesty International)

“Lebanese security forces have committed shocking violations against Syrian refugees who have been arrested, often arbitrarily, on terrorism-related charges, employing some of the same atrocious torture techniques that are used in Syria’s most notorious prisons, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today.” Read more

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Hopefully tomorrow with artist Jwan Yosef (My.Kali Magazine)

“Born in Syria, raised in Sweden, and based in London, Jwan Yosef is constantly engaging themes of identity through his art. He describes himself as an immigrant of the world, an immigrant in every country he’s lived in. His art, which is mostly based on and inspired by marginalized groups, tackles themes of identity and belonging. Drawing inspiration from his external and internal worlds, Jwan retells and reframes stories and images we are told to believe, and draws inspiration from his experiences as a queer person and love for his husband and children.” Watch

'Part of village life': Ten years on, Syrian refugees still crowd Lebanon's Bekaa valley (France 24)

“Since the start of Syria's decade-long conflict, some 1.5 million refugees have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, many of them sheltered in camps along the border. FRANCE 24's reporters travelled to a village in the Bekaa valley, where the population has doubled as a result of the influx of refugees.” Watch

Syria: Bread crisis exposes government failure (Human Rights Watch)

“A deepening economic crisis, coupled with the significant destruction of infrastructure over a decade of conflict primarily by the Syrian government and its allies, have led to severe wheat shortages. Compounding the crisis, the Syrian government has allowed the discriminatory distribution of bread, alongside corruption and restrictions on how much subsidized bread people can buy that lead to people going hungry.” Read more

Syria, foreign policy, and the limits of journalistic impact (Columbia Journalism Review)

“When discussing Syria with reporters who have covered the country, I come across a common theme, namely a frustration that their work has done little to stop the bloodshed. As Arwa Damon, a CNN correspondent, wrote: ‘There were moments where I wished I could transport the decision-makers to Syria so they could bear witness to the extreme suffering and injustice. We tried to depict it, report it as best we could, as raw as we could, but it seemed not to phase them [sic]. Maybe living it for a brief moment would.’ Josie Ensor, of the Telegraph, wrote that ‘it’s a hard thing for a journalist to acknowledge, looking back on a body of work, to realise it has had so little impact. At least, I try to tell myself, we have been on the right side of history.’ In private conversations, I’ve often heard similar sentiments.” Read more

Anniversary (Branch 251)

“This episode is not one we expected to make, but as we were pitching and developing, it became clear that we couldn't have made anything else.” Listen

Syria’s Palestinians: A new Nakba (Tom Rollins)

"For too long, there has been little attention on the 560,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) who were residing in Syria on the eve of the 2011 civil uprising that later turned into full-blown armed conflict. Palestinians inside Syria have faced many of the same risks as Syrians in this brutal 10-year war: detention and forced disappearances, torture and executions, displacement and siege. And yet once displaced, Palestinian refugees are left even more vulnerable by their unique place in international law due to their especial, pre-existing refugee status and statelessness." Read more


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad