Many people don’t know what Syria used to look like before this devastating war. Those brief images that flash by on the news show scenes of destruction that are familiar, and in that familiarity they blend together with images of other war-torn countries. People’s ignorance of many foreign countries until they’re bombed remains are shown on the news leads many to believe, consciously or not, that those countries kind of always looked like that. They are often led to think that we are talking about people who have lived on the streets their whole lives, or in slums, or in mud huts, and so those giant refugee tents filled with overlapping mats must seem like hotels to them, right? I mean, at least they have a bit of canvas over their heads for the first time in their lives!
I think that showing before and after images of these war-torn countries is a far more powerful message, not only because it truly emphasizes the devastation that these people seeking asylum in our countries have experienced, but also because it is better at sparking a necessary, communal empathy. It drives home the message: that could be us. That city was little different from the one I live in, and look at it now. It is terrifying, it is reminiscent of our own world wars, and it is a far more effective tool to educate the people as to what the consequences of war actually look like.
To that effect, here is one video which pieced together some images of Aleppo, before and after the war.
I know, I know, the guy who strung them together is David Wolfe. I’ll beat him up over his pseudoscientific drivel another time, but for now, these images should still be seen by as many people as possible.