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Demands for prosthetic limbs in Syria are overwhelming.
Demands for prosthetic limbs in Syria are overwhelming.
Ahmad Khalil and Karen Leigh

DOUMA — Thousands of Syrians have lost limbs during the country's three-year war. Here in the Damascus suburbs, two men have opened a workshop where functioning prosthetics are fashioned out of found materials.

When Omar al-Ahmad celebrated his 13th birthday this year, he didn't mark the milestone by shopping for new clothes with his father in downtown Damascus, coveting — as he would have done before the war — the uniform of his favorite soccer team on a mannequin in a shop window.

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Ideas

The Russian Art Of Protesting Through Silence

English Professor Jacob Edmond takes a look at the creative ways that Russian journalists, writers and artists are turning forced silence into powerful statements.

A woman protests against Russian rapes in Ukraine with her silent taped mouth during a flashmob in New York.

Jacob Edmond

-Analysis-

“It is impossible to stop a speeding train by throwing oneself onto the tracks,” wrote Russian poet Dmitry Kuzmin back in March. He was commenting on Olga Gordienko, a young teacher who, before she was arrested, stood for several minutes on a Moscow street with a sign that read:

At least don’t lie to yourself. War is death. Enough of this bloody fight for peace!

While acknowledging the teacher’s bravery, Kuzmin warned protestors to take care. Change would not come through such isolated acts, however admirable.

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What would you do if your country launched a war of aggression, causing tens of thousands of deaths and displacing millions? What if the price of protest or even posting objections on social media was arrest and imprisonment?

What if you knew that over the past decades many of your country’s most outspoken journalists had been killed for refusing to the toe the government line? What if even mentioning the word “war” online, in print, or on the street was illegal?

Would you speak out, or keep quiet and bide your time?

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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