Ghouta is a ghost that is haunting the dreams of Syria.
As we cozy up in our comfortable beds, looking at videos on our phones about how the Syrians are living in a place worse than hell, let’s remember something the next time we turn off our phones and doze off to sleep: You cannot always rely on the governments to do something about the Syrian crisis. Whichever country you may belong to and how much ever you feel for the plight of the Syrians, DON’T WAIT. Don’t wait for someone to knock some sense into your head about doing something for people who are not related to you. Don’t wait for your government to improve bilateral relations with a country so that it can start helping it. ACT NOW. YOU are more powerful than any government. You are. We all are.
A concerned group of people across the world wrote a very powerful open letter about the Syrian crisis, asking us to act now. They said, “The world is a bystander to the carnage that has ravaged the lives of Syrians. All has happened in full view of a global audience that sees everything but refuses to act.”
That hits. That hits our hearts that have only been beating for ourselves. Think about the lives of those who don’t know whether they will have a life tomorrow. Those children who lose their parents overnight and are lost, wondering why people are killing people. We rob those kids of their childhood, of their right to be pampered by their parents, of their right to live their dream!
There are some people who are acting. And if you cannot go to Syria and act in person, you can help by supporting various organisations who are, every single day, staking their lives to save the lives of others. Or you can do one of these five things:
1. Donate or Volunteer:
This is the very first thing you can do. Here is a list of organisations who are working to improve the conditions in Syria and helping the refugees survive. Don’t eat that fancy dinner today, send that money to them.
Save The Children:
You know what becomes extremely important when you are in a crisis? Food. Medical supplies. Save The Children ensures that the victims of the ruthless attacks in Syria get the supplies they need. Donate and get involved here: Save The Children.
The White Helmets:
They are the Syrian Civil Defense. “When the bombs rain down, the Syrian Civil Defence rushes in. In a place where public services no longer function these unarmed volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need – regardless of their religion or politics. Known as the White Helmets these volunteer rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth,” their website reads. Donate and know more about them here: The White Helmets.
Syrian American Medical Society Foundation & Doctors Without Borders:
What is the one thing that is inevitable in case of an attack? Injury. In war-torn region healthcare facilities become negligible. Both of these organisations take care of the injured and take care of lives. You can get involved with them here: Syrian American Medical Society Foundation & Doctors Without Borders.
International Rescue Committee:
Rescue – one word that has let humanity prevail. The International Rescue Committee not only rescues people from Syria’s schools and other areas but also takes care of refugees in other neighbouring countries like Jordan, Turkey, Libya etc. It also helps the Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States. You can donate here: International Rescue Committee.
2. Write, share, express your thoughts about the Syrian crisis and write letters to the Syrian refugees:
Words have the power to bring about change. Your heartfelt posts on your various social media handles help in ways you cannot imagine. Social media has become a platform to voice what you think is wrong – too many voices together is stronger than anything else. That is passive. What will be active is to write a letter to a Syrian refugee. You can really do that. An organisation called CARE lets you pen a letter of hope: Write a letter.
3. Create pressure on various world leaders by signing petitions:
Yes, the petitions do make a difference. Especially ones like the petition to create funding for education for the Syrian refugees. You can sign this one: Syria Emergency Action Funding. Visit websites like change.org, globalcitizen.org and many others that consistently run campaigns that are successful. It will take you under a minute to put your name on a cause. Do it today.
You can also visit space.org, where you can send a strong message directly to world leaders who are capable of impacting immediate change.
4. Make your skill and expertise available for the help of Syrian refugees:
One of the major issues that refugees face is understanding the language of a new country that has given them refuge. Translate for them. There is a hotline for Syrian refugees with 500 volunteers. Even though you might belong to a country where there are no Syrian refugees, you can get involved by messaging them on there Facebook page and make a difference in every small way possible here: SAV Syrian Active Volunteers.
Another thing that the Syrian refugees are in need of in legal aid. There is an organisation called International Refugee Assistance Project. “The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders,” their website reads. You can get involved here: International Refugee Assistance Project.
You can always send a message to various organisations listed above offering the skills you have in whatever country you may be in. Help them. There are many people who have listed their apartments for refugees using this website: Refugees Welcome.
5. Become AWARE and stop spreading hatred and violence yourself:
We are not all educated about what is happening in Syria. Get educated. For instance, you can follow people like Rami Jarrah (Facebook) and know his first-hand experience.
Most important of all – stop spreading violence and hatred yourself. You might be thinking that how does your beating your wife or friend or even a dog affect what is happening in Syria? It does. We influence each other massively. Someone else will see you spreading hatred and violence and learn from you. In India, we are all torn by our religion and caste. That is the example we set behind. In Syria, a lot of groups have been fighting for years to gain control of the country for their own reasons. Put peace first. Now. In every small way possible. It starts with you.
You can read refugee stories by searching the hashtag #IamSyrian. Share their stories and make them feel more powerful.
Understand that more than 11 million people have been killed in Syria. 10% of Syrian refugees are children! ACT NOW. We are all on the same planet.
Preview Photo: REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh