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‘Becoming a nation again’ (about 2011) by Alshaab Alsori Aref Tarekh (The Syrian People Know Their Way), The British Museum

Arabic is a diverse and beautiful language and ought to be represented more in museums and galleries as a living, breathing language, rather than simply as a religious script.

The text at the bottom of this poster reads ‘If it's not sorted out this week, we'll put it back next week’. Images like this were used by activists in the mass demonstrations and uprisings at the beginning of the Syrian Civil War and have been shared widely on social media since.

The ‘becoming’ in the title of the poster (part of the larger script in the middle) could be translated as 're-nationing'. It’s a play on the Arabic word for recycling (iˁādat al-tadwīr). And there’s an international visual code if you can’t read the Arabic – the plane flying around the well-known recycling symbol was a call for a no-fly zone in the region.

This international artwork fits with the theme of UN Arabic Language Day, observed annually on 18 December as an official UNESCO event celebrating multilingualism and cultural diversity. And it also promotes equal use of all six of the UN’s official working languages.