A smart phone films another smart phone. Phones now are at once news aggregators, radio stations, polling stations, user-generated protest platforms, games consoles and more. The complexities of having immediate, omnipresent access to this tool of widely different uses in our lives hasn't been fully explored; what we know and what we do with the phone is riddled with consequences, even the ones grown from an actions' own futility. To illustrate this, the film examines what the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) have called a “stranglehold” on the town of Madaya. Since in July 2015, people have died from starvation and malnutrition as a result, they say, of the Syrian government’s position.
Now, at the close of 2016 when food shortages have worsened, the difficult dichotomy of knowing injustice exists without being able to effectively do anything about it has increasingly become a very contemporary condition of our times.
Reposting a tweet is, to an extent, spreads this ineffectiveness on social media, so that even by raising awareness, we are at the same time raising levels of the condition of ineffectiveness afflicting all, aside from those working directly for these causes.
Punctured by real time sounds of a stomach rumbling, the piece explores the limbo we occupy when reposting. Are we essentially working to numb people to despair altogether, while passing on to our followers the stress of knowing they are doing nothing directly to help and the pain this dichotomy incurs.
“Last year, unspeakable images of Madaya’s suffering emerged in the media and we hoped that would trigger action to finally bring lifesaving aid into the town,” said Elise Baker of PHR.
“But UN humanitarian convoys that finally reached Madaya failed to provide the population with enough food, medicine and medical equipment.
“Dozens of Madaya’s residents died because of these failures. And each day under siege brings the rest of Madaya’s population one day closer to death.”
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