A message from Mosul Eye Historian to Ukrainian Historians: Protect your History Now, Not Tomorrow.
Dear Ukrainians who are covering the war, from inside Ukraine and outside, here are some suggestions from someone who lived the war and cares about history and its importance in such moments:
While journalist reports are essential; the civil voice has a greater value in the long term; it protects your future. Do not get stuck in just reporting the current moment; pay attention to what comes next.
2- Document everything daily and explain your country’s social, economic, cultural, and political fabric to the world. It is essential to document the social impact collect testimonies and first-hand accounts from the people there. You will need this soon.
3- Sadly, the world pays more attention to individual stories than collective ones. Therefore, you need to add personal stories to get the right impact to help your country by keeping the world focused on your situation.
4- You should give yourself the chance to think more clearly in such terrifying times; your safety and security should come first. Do not overexpose yourself. Today’s friend can be tomorrow’s enemy.
5- If you decide to work collectively, do it decentralized.
6- Record as much as you can videos, audio and any possible visual material you can collect. You can’t imagine how useful this will be in the coming days. War will end, but it will only end for governments; the people will keep suffering unless you have collected enough material to pursue justice.
7- Do not forget your cultural heritage; keep a close eye and document everything.
8- I know it is a terrible time for all of you, and it is meaningless to ask you not to be emotional, but remember, if you decide to document your history, you must accept the price, that is to put your emotions aside for a while.
9- No matter how excited you get when you see a video, an image, a document, etc., that you can use against your enemy, you MUST be careful not to use it if it is not verified. Your enemy will be happy to discredit you. Your credibility is everything.
10- Do not say I will document this event tomorrow! No, do it immediately, and write it the moment it happens. The value of real-time documentation is fundamental, but you can only do it if you think about the future and get yourself out of the current moment.
11- Remember, he who controls the narrative of your history will control your future.
12- Your voice is more powerful than any journalist around the world, you are conveying not only the history to the people, but you are pouring your real feelings into its heart.
13- Assad and pro-Putin pundits are using the racist comments of some western journalists. While such terrible statements should have never happened, Ukrainian journalists should condemn them to deprive the enemy of using it to distract people.
14- As the conflict goes, there will be massive pressure on you, the young and future leaders of Ukraine. You will find yourself not only fighting Putin but also the propaganda and counter-narrative. Please do not ignore it, and treat it wisely as it happens.
15- You will realize that your enemy will use every available tool to discredit you. Keep your eyes open, debunk the claims and propaganda, stick to the truth. Oppressors and dictators fear the truth.
16- You will also see those who will use you for their purposes, they are not nearly supporting Putin, but the conflict provides them with the chance to prove their nonsense.
17- You will also see those who will use you for their purposes, they are not nearly supporting Putin, but the conflict provides them with the chance to prove their nonsense. Debunk and expose them immediately.
18- Should you receive a request to write an article for a media outlet or newspaper, pause and do not accept immediately; think before you do it. Significantly if it will be edited, if you accept, read the final edition before it goes online.
19- Do not allow the journalists and media outlets to use you or refer to you as a “fixer” or “source”. Establish your platform, let them come to your platform to read the news.
[…] 2022, he has reached out with many messages of support to people in Ukraine. He has offered advice to Ukrainian historians about preserving records and documenting conflict. He has amplified the work of […]
[…] [iii] This is well understood in Mosul, for example, where UNESCO is investing heavily in the restoration of cultural monuments. See also these reflections on the importance of cultural heritage to peace-building by Omar Mohammed, aka Mosul Eye: https://mosul-eye.org/category/heritage/ and https://mosul-eye.org/2022/03/01/a-letter-from-a-mosuli-historian-to-the-ukrainian-historians-protec… and https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/ESCR/CulturalHeritage/Session3/CSO/b4mohammed.pdf. […]