War through the eyes of children

Some of the most disturbing, yet most powerful stories of war are those seen through the eyes of children.

Friday, 17th August 2018, 11:44 am
Updated Friday, 17th August 2018, 11:49 am
Refugees at Budapest Railway Station demonstrate against the cancellation of trains that go to Austria and Germany. Thousands of mostly Syrian refugees are standed at Budapest Railway Station because the Hungarian Government has cancelled all international railway services.

A film-maker and writer from Galashiels is hoping to bring these images and tales together by developing a children’s war museum.

It’s an idea 51-year-old Brian Devlin has been working on for years, and he has spent a considerable amount of time and money putting together possible exhibits.

And now, he’s ready to test the water, by putting together a small exhibition of art and photography from the Syrian conflict.

A young family, with a young boy crying upset at the weather conditions which were miserable. Refugees at the UNHCR Registration centre in Gegeliya , wait to board a train in the pouring rain, a train that will take them to the Serbian border with Macedonia. The refugees had to wait in the pouring rain. The boarding was chaotic as it poured down with heavy rain. Refugees at Gevgelija Border Crossing Macedonian Side.

He told us: “I want to present children’s experience of war through their own voices and creativity.

“The thing about children’s war stories is that there is a lot of anger there. It’s also inspiring to see how children react to these events and how they adapt to it as well.

“The Syrian revolution was started by young students in Daraa who wrote graffiti against Assad on the walls of their school.

“Their parents led protests in the city after their sons were arrested and tortured, which spread across the country.

“Children and young people have played a really important role in the revolution.”

The exhibition, which takes place in Trinity Church in Galashiels from August 27 to September 1.

It includes photographs of the Syrian refugees’ journey across Europe in 2015 by Antonio Olmos, a freelance photo journalist.

Another of the displays is from Young Lens, a group of young activists from across Syria who have documented the affects of the war in towns and cities across the country since the start of the revolution in 2011.

Another group, Humans of Syria, are creating profiles of internally displaced Syrians. The project enables children and young people to talk about their lives and their hopes for the future.

Brian added: “We are particularly hoping to highlight the story of the detainees who have disappeared in to Assad’s prisons by showing a series of documentary films.

“There are also two films which present different perspectives on the Syrian revolution in Homs and Aleppo.”

He also hopes to be able to bring some of the work from a group called The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution to Britain.

That vast collection of writings, images, cartoons, paintings and even music, can be viewed online at https://creativememory.org

Brian also hopes to show photographs from Operation Caesar at the Scottish Parliament soon. Caesar was a military photographer who has documented the torture of detainees which he sent to opposition groups.