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As a Syrian in Berlin, I photographed the moment the world started caring about my country

Editor’s Note: Thousands of people fleeing war in Syria have made their way across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe in the hopes of landing in Germany, which has promised to accept refugees. This fall, Syrian photographer Nour Nouralla was visiting Berlin when she heard about a rally to support incoming refugees. In this week’s edition of Parallax, she discusses the significance of that rally and why she chose to photograph it.

I was born in the oldest inhabited capital in the world, Damascus. For almost five years, I have watched my country being torn apart. What started as a peaceful revolution has turned into a violent civil war that has led to people fleeing the country and making their way to Europe — a dangerous trip, one that has resulted in the death of thousands of refugees in the last few years as they have tried to cross the Mediterranean.

For a long time, the world turned their head the other way when it came to Syrian refugees. But one day in early September, a photograph of toddler Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body, washed ashore on a beach in Turkey, sparked international outrage. He was not the first child to die in the desperate escape of his family from the war, but he was definitely the wake-up call for the world.

On Sept. 12, tens of thousands of people all over Europe and Australia took part in pro-refugees demonstrations to rally their governments to accept more refugees, and Berlin was no exception. I had been in the German capital for the summer and was able to attend the rally, which was titled “Berlin Sees Syria.” Hundreds of people gathered in the historic Potsdamer Platz and held up “Refugees Welcome” signs. They stood in support of Syrian refugees and to put pressure on politicians to take action. They wanted to show that the German people will not stand by while people die trying to reach Europe. People from all walks of life demonstrated and held candles in solidarity with all those who passed away during their attempt to flee their homes.

Aylan Kurdi, this one goes out to you.

The word “parallax” describes the camera error that occurs when an image looks different through a viewfinder than how it is recorded by a sensor; when one camera gives two perspectives. Parallax is a blog where photographers offer the unexpected sides and stories of their work. Tell us yours or share on Instagram at #PBSParallax.

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