Leaving Home: An Illustration of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

My Twine story illustrating a perspective of the Syrian refugee crisis, “Leaving Home”, was very dynamic and changed directions many times while I was writing it. At first, I wanted to continue and expand upon my previous Twine Story about the plane crash. I really wanted to make the endings more interesting and consequential and possibly include some character development. However, I ultimately decided that it would be more appropriate to start fresh and create a new story that will allow me to write without constraints to what I have already done.

Analyzing the current events in the news, I decided that I wanted to create a story that would communicate a message on a more personal level to the audience. I wanted the story to catalyze people to action or at least allow them to gain a new viewpoint on an issue or event that they may have initially been unfamiliar with.

I didn’t want to be political or choose sides in the issue that I chose to write about. I wanted to appeal to the pathos of the audience and bring them into the world of the people facing the issue. A prominent issue that I felt needed more attention was the Syrian refugee crisis. The Syrian civil war has been going on for 5 years now and has torn apart the country and marred the lives of its citizens. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 4.8 million citizens have moved to the surrounding countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. 6.6 million have been internally displaced within the country. Even so, 1 million Syrians have requested asylum to Europe.

I was curious about the experiences of these refugees. A refugee’s story really never ends. It has a definite beginning but an indefinite end. Their whole life is forever changed by the experiences they had to face. This is why I wanted to focus on the beginning of the journey of the refugees. I wanted to illustrate the choices that they had to face during such a big transition. I was also interested in researching about the current conditions in Syria. As I learned more about the state of the cities in Syria, I wanted to explore what could happen there. I researched what kind of altercations civilians had with soldiers and used those stories as inspirations for the interactions the character has.

I also wanted to provide the reader with a sense of agency but still show how often in tense situations, the choices made lead to endings that are indeed not much better than other outcomes. For example, when the character is approaching the checkpoint they can choose to either go through it or avoid it. Whatever choice they choose will lead to a different interaction with the soldiers manning the checkpoint but ultimately the interaction is negative and leads the character to decide to leave Syria with his family.

Twine was a great media to tell this story. The affordances of adding pictures and video to slides really added to the immersive nature of the story. I used pictures to illustrate settings and to provide the reader with a visual with which to associate the text to. Changing the background color to a brownish-red also set the feel of the story to urgent yet nervous.

I really enjoyed creating this project and learning more about the implications and effects of the Syrian refugee crisis. I am now more informed and sensitive to what is going on in the lives of those affected.

You can check it out here: Leaving Home



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