What is it about?

After over a decade of war, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been forced from their homes. This article reads literature, film, and journalism to explore how Syrian cultural actors make sense of so much devastation.

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Why is it important?

This article offers perspectives unseen in media coverage of Syrian refugees. It amplifies Syrian and Syrian-Palestinian voices as they reflect on their own history and political futures. The contribution shows how cultural actors find creative ways to depict displacement in order to re-write their memories of the 2011 revolution in Syria, as well as to find new ways to connect with past displacements in Syria and Palestine. Young women's voices are particularly important in this cultural movement, using art to explore the displaced's relationship to home, the body, and landscape.


There's been so much emphasis in recent years on depicting Syrians as refugees fleeing war, and whether intentionally or not, this imagery tends to trap Syrians in a victim role. What I try to do in this article is explore a conversation that's happening in Arabic, where Syrians and Syrian-Palestinians take stock of their losses: acknowledging their immense pain, both as individuals and a society, but also articulating their own alternatives to the victim role. There's so much resistance and resilience in the works discussed in this piece, especially in relation to the 2011 revolution. I think it's a conversation worth paying attention to.

Anne-Marie McManus
Forum Transregionale Studien

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Al-nuzuh: Displacement as Keyword, Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, November 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/18739865-01504013.
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