They keep coming, both the bombs and the images from Aleppo

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But the photographs and videos have made it out. The faces of the besieged, staring into the camera, at us, and at death, pleading for help, baffled by our indifference to the slaughter, describing the atrocities outside their bedrooms or just on the other side of the door. We see their faces from an angle we ordinarily see a friend’s face, up close, staring straight into our eyes.

They are bearing witness, in real time, refusing to disappear without a trace. And in this era of connectedness, they are refusing to let us off the hook. These images, spread via social media, unmediated, confirm that the people making them are still alive — in that moment, anyway.

We have never before received such a deluge of images from any front, never gotten such an intimate, minute-by-minute, look at what the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said on Wednesday most likely constituted war crimes.

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Syrian children hold Pokemon pictures in the hope people will find them and save them

Syria

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The images, published on Facebook, show young Syrians looking dejectedly into the camera holding images of Pokemon characters with the words: “I am here, come save me”.

The signs also state the location of each child. They are all in different Syrian towns… The photos were posted by the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS), a media outlet … working to spread the messages of Syrians against Bashar al-Assasd’s presidential regime.

A spokesperson for RFS, which is based in Turkey and has reporters in Syrian cities, told The Independent: “With the media spread wide for Pokemon game we decided to publish these images to highlight the suffering of the Syrian people from the bombing of the forces of order and Air-Assad to the Syrian people and besiege them.”

 

 

How the battle against IS is being fought online

woman holding #notinmyname placard

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The battle against Islamic State (IS) militants has been fought in part on social networks, and has raised the question – how best to counter the message being spread by jihadists?

Analysis by BBC News shows that over the course of Friday evening the hashtag [#notinmyname] reached an audience equivalent to those sitting down to watch the main news bulletins. The hashtag was the brainchild of the Active Change Foundation, an organisation dedicated to fighting extremism.  Hanif Qadir of ACF said he and the young people at the organisation came up with the campaign because the broad mass of ordinary Muslim voices couldn’t be heard. They wanted to take back online space occupied by IS.

“It’s a simple message,” he says. “It’s Muslims [and] non-Muslims saying no way, not in the name of Islam, and not in the name of any faith or humanity, It’s a very very powerful message and very simple.”

“This is the most socially-mediated conflict in history,” he says. “You literally have thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world using social media in order to convey the message about the jihad that they are fighting.

“If I am a 20-year-old kid in Bradford who is thinking about going to Syria, I can go online and talk to another 20-year-old from Birmingham, London or Manchester and find out about their experiences and have a two-way conversation with a peer who has undergone the exact same thought processes that I have gone through and has faced all the challenges that I am about to embark upon.”