Humanity amidst civil war

This was a busy summer; planes fell from the sky in the Ukraine, disease broke out in West Africa and Israel and Palestine were bombing each other again.

With all of these events going on in the world and dominating news headlines, it seems that people have forgotten about Syria. Even though the Islamic State group (IS) has become more prominent recently, many people are not paying attention to the Syrian people. Many people, world leaders included, have forgotten the thousands of Syrians who are being displaced, or the hundreds having bombs landing on their heads daily.

All of the other things happening in the world are important, but that doesn’t justify the lack of sufficient aid to Syria. It doesn’t justify why the world has forgotten about Syria.

Instead of writing about what actions President Barack Obama has for IS, or suggesting a diplomatic solution that I don’t have the answer to, I want to write about The Syria Campaign. I want to explain why you should care.

Due to the ongoing civil war that has lasted three years in Syria, the media consulting firm with non-governmental organization (NGO) like qualities, Purpose, created this campaign. They are frustrated by the lack of global attention the war has been getting, which is why they pressure the United Nations (UN) and other world leaders to deliver aid to thousands of Syrian civilians. People are looking at the negative effects of IS, and are in turn forgetting about what matters most: The Syrian people.

The Syria Campaign’s stated goal is to “capture the attention of the public and demand more from our global leaders in government, institutions and the media.” They focus on delivering movements with real impact for Syrian civilians, as well as a more positive view of things happening in Syria.

For example, the campaign condemns and posts petitions asking the UN to ban the trade of items from Syria’s Ancient World Heritage Sites, such as treasures from museums and ancient cities. The profit made from the trade goes into buying more weapons.

Neighborhoods in Syria see more than 50 bombs and mortars a day landing on homes, hospitals and schools. According to their website, the bombs and mortars are filled with nails as well as explosives, and are tossed from the back of government helicopters that cause destruction and obliteration.

Minutes later, volunteer rescue workers called “The White Helmets,” or the Syrian Civil Defence, rush into the rubble, looking for life. One of the most recent posts by the campaign has been about these lifesavers and their need for more tools such as shovels, safety goggles, defibrillators and gas masks.

The 2-minute video shows these men in one of the most dangerous places in the world, talking about their experiences, as well as footage of them rescuing a 2-week-old baby from a collapsed building.

Their website highlights their principles of humanity, solidarity and impartiality and states that these men have rescued citizens from bombings of governmental planes, but also rescue fallen governmental soldiers so that they can have proper burials. White Helmet rescuer Abed said on the website, “When I want to save someone’s life I don’t care if he’s an enemy or a friend. What concerns me is the soul that might die.”

These volunteers give hope to Syria, and show that there still are good things being done, but they need more support to continue doing them.

These men are bakers, engineers, tailors, pharmacists, painters, carpenters and students, among other professions. They know very well that more bombs may fall on the same site very soon, but day after day they still go into the rubble searching for life. In the past year, they have saved 2,500 lives, a number that grows daily. These men risk their lives every minute of every day to rummage through rubble, looking for life.

With bombs and air attacks happening constantly, the conditions in Syria are unimaginable to the Western world. Dundar Sahin, the director of Akut Search and Rescue Association based in Turkey describe the situation: “To be able to understand accurately the damage and the threat and the devastation of the disaster in Syria, they are having a 7.6 earthquake 50 times a day.”

The campaign has highlighted and displayed these heroic efforts to people outside of Syria, asking them to support these men with more tools, and to show a different side of the war. They show that no matter who you are or what background you come from, you have the right to live, and that there is still some good being done with all of the mass destruction taking place.

The last important aspect of The Syria Campaign is their diary. The aim of the diary is to share stories of Syrians who are artists, musicians, and other professions that show hope and happiness.

I am half-Syrian and half-Egyptian, and it hurts to see the mass destruction of my people, hearing the horror stories of civilians. Thinking back on my trips to Syria, I think of friendly, liberal people, exquisite architecture and the best food in the world. I think of bustling cities and markets, close-knit families and historical monuments everywhere you look. I deplore that war has destroyed one of the most culturally rich countries I’ve been to.

Seeing the heart-wrenching photos of Syrian kids sitting on the side of the road with rubble surrounding them, I can’t help but feel that not enough is being done. Not enough medical supplies are being given. Not enough food. Not enough water. Not enough people are paying attention to the Syrians.

So pay attention. Pay attention to the generation that is going to be destroyed if you don’t do anything. Pay attention to the hundreds of people who don’t have clean water. Pay attention to those kids whose futures look bleak.

Visit www.thesyriacampagin.org for more information and to sign the petitions stopping the destruction of a country with one of the most incredible histories in the world. Read the stories of these people. Share the stories. Make their voices heard. Call on the international community to aid the Syrian people before it’s too late.

Even doing something this small, you’re helping save those little Syrian children with big, brown eyes; you’re helping save a generation.

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