Turn on the screen

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

It is 8.15 o´clock at night- just past the news here in Germany. I have the great privilege to be able to watch these independently-researched and well-presented summaries of what is happening around the world. And what´s more, I have the priceless privilege to be able to switch them off in the end. However, even when the screen goes black, the stories continue.

Our writers don´t get to turn off the TV. For them, the story continues, minute after minute, day after day. They get in their ambulance to respond to the aftermath of the earthquake whose devastating wreckage I just saw in a 30 second coverage. They return to their simple classroom, wondering how many of their pupils will be able to move past the trauma they have experienced fleeing their home. They wake up every morning worried about whether they will have the time, equipment and supplies to save their patients’ lives today. Whether another patient will try to sexually assault them. Whether there will ever be peace in the area they have been patrolling as part of their peacekeeping mission. They ask themselves whether they will have the strength to continue fighting against the inequality they face. And what new challenges there will be today. For them, the news don´t end, and the screen doesn´t go black. Even worse than that, for the majority of them, the screen never turns on in the first place. Their stories go unreported, their voices unheard.

When the screen goes dark, I always find myself staring at it for a couple of minutes, wondering about all those stories behind the news. At VOICE, we work with incredibly inspiring individuals from all over the world. To me, every story we work on is personal. I have had the chance to get to know many of our writers in person, some of them are close friends of mine, and we are in close contact with each and every one of them. When we cannot reach them, I worry. When they post updates about how many people have died in their street or neighbourhood as part of the ongoing conflict, one of the first things I do is to check their facebook wall every morning to see whether there has been any news. I have listened to and read their stories so many times that I know most of them by heart by now. And yet, every time I reread them, I need a minute afterwards to think. Even after reading a story for the hundredth time, it still holds a unique power. To me, that is one of the reasons why “A Definition of snow” is so special.

The next time you watch the news, maybe take a minute to think about those behind the stories. And about those whose stories went unnoticed. VOICE is publishing the stories of 15 of them in “A Definition of Snow”. We hope the book will make you think.

Turn the screen on for our writers and listen to what they have to say.

Annina Lux, VOICE Project Coordinator


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