Syria’s ongoing conflict calls for response

28142980199_27b39c86b6_bNAOMI DORNFELD |

Pre-Teens and freelance journalists call for international intervention amid the violence on Social Media

On March 15, Syria’s civil war entered its eight year. With the continued attack on Eastern Ghouta from the Syrian Government and the enduring factions of resistance across the country, there appears to be no end in sight. Amid the conflict, the Syrian people call upon the world for response. Since its onset in 2011, there have been over 465,000 casualties and over 12 million people displaced from their homes across Syria. Throughout the ongoing conflict, every day citizens have taken to social media to share their experiences and to plead for the world’s attention and their aid.

Voices of the People
Among the many young people utilizing public applications to broadcast statements and events in conflict-zones, two young girls, identifying as @Noor_and_Alaa on Twitter, post regular updates from the besieged enclave they are trapped in. On March 21, 12-year-old Noor sent a message to the world: “There is nowhere to go from here, it seems to be the end somehow, If the international community want to save us it is time to do it now. #SaveGhouta #Ghouta #Syria” A freelance photojournalist from Syria by the username @amer_almohibany posted on March 7, “We are annihilated in every sense of the word. pray for us. #EasternGhouta.”

Conversation on Campus
In consideration of how University of Wisconsin – Parkside students can address this crisis as global citizens, Dr. Kate Gillogly, Geography and Anthropology Department Chair, and Dr. Simon Akindes, Political Science Professor, were invited to shared their views. When asked about what, if anything, could be done, Dr. Akindes shared details of the situation’s complexity, admitting that there are limits to how UW-Parkside students can help Syria. He suggested, “either you advocate for refugees or you organize information sessions where people can talk about it and learn more, less subjected to propaganda of mainstream media.” Also aware of the complexities of the Syrian war, Dr. Gillogly shared, “that could be me, fleeing war. Those are nice, ordinary people, and now they’re homeless. For Syria, for anything, learn to put yourself in that position. Develop your ability to put yourself in their story. Learn empathy.”

Options to Engage
Although the conflict in Syria appears distant and overwhelmingly complex, there are positive initiatives to participate in, organizations to partner with and opportunities for further education and support. Two possible personal response actions are to advocate for Syrian Refugees and to donate to trustworthy organizations. To support Syrian refugees, email your elected officials and call your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives: 1-866-940-2439.Once connected, share your name, city, and state, your support for the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program and one or two reasons why you welcome refugees. To help with immediate on-the-ground needs in conflict zones donate to an organization like Preemptive Love Coalition, which provides bread and infant formula inside besieged and hard-to-reach areas, maintains a massive emergency kitchen, and sends mobile medical clinics into communities whose hospitals have been destroyed. Lastly, to stay engaged in the plight of the Syrian people, follow the aforementioned youth on Twitter and other social media accounts, and listen in to their stories they tell.

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