While eastern Aleppo is falling to devastation at the hands of pro-regime troops, some people have focused on debating numbers and little girls. Specifically, some have questioned the estimated total of 250,000 people besieged by the regime in eastern Aleppo quoted by the UN and organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Debating numbers in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe deflects from the real issues at hand, which are the atrocities committed, as you read this, against the people of east Aleppo.
Questioning figures isn’t a particularly original method to discredit narratives of suffering, nor is it restricted to Syria. Palestinians, for example, are all too familiar with the absurdity of debating numbers while people face besiegement and death.
Every person who has been subjected to systematic violence knows that counting bodies at a singular moment in time does not tell us all we need to know about patterns of violence. It says nothing about the reality of oppression, siege, starvation, torture, pain or death.