In December 2014 a group of Syrian and non-Syrian activists came together with their concerns and dismay over the lack of success and efforts to stop the violence and extremism in Syria. Out of this has come a call to the world community: Earth: Is Anybody Out There?
On Tuesday, 7 April 2015 people around the globe will be linking up with the men, women and children of Syria to achieve solidarity and worldwide recognition of the humanitarian crisis taking place today within and without Syrian borders which is seemingly without end. Planet Syria is the campaign by non-violent activists to engage all concerned people around the world to join together so their voices can be heard, to stop the violence, and in particular, to end the air strikes and use of homemade barrel bombs by Assad's regime and to encourage negotiations between all Syrian groups and international backers.
On 31 March, the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria took place in Kuwait City. The OCHA has reported that as the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, 12.2 million people remain in dire need of assistance. In the last year alone 2,000 children have been killed by barrel bombs, the biggest killer of civilians in Syria today. The bombs are filled with TNT, petrol and chunks of metal, creating craters two or three meters deep on impact. Half the country has been forced from their homes, fleeing to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, creating the "largest displacement crisis in the world". Planet Syria recounts that more than 220,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have been detained; 640,000 are living without regular access to food, water or medicines. In the overflowing refugee camps, further challenges for the misplaced and long-suffering inhabitants must be faced. There's a prevalence of suffering from psychological conditions too, the invisible wounds of war having chronic consequences for the society itself.
Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children has written here that though funding is crucial, it is not just money that is needed: "Even where aid is funded, it is not always able to get through - the United Nations revealed last week that the Syrian government has only allowed it to deliver aid to three of the 33 sites it has requested access to this year."
Through the Syria Campaign, the Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini received 3,644 emails in just one day from its supporters. This resulted in Italy shifting its position on blocking an embargo of aviation fuel to Syria. "Europe has agreed to ban the sale of aviation fuel to Syria, the fuel used to drop the rusty barrel bombs on schools, hospitals and homes by the regime. It's an epic win, and it happened in record time." Proof of what a united effort can achieve. Planet Syria has said that "there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.We need real peace talks to include all Syrian parties with the strong support of the international community."
Between now and April 7th, is an opportunity to further understanding of the events and the circumstances of this extreme violation of human rights. And on April 7th we can join with Planet Syria and innumerable groups and organizations in worldwide peaceful demonstrations of every kind to show international solidarity. Any group that is non-governmental and non-military can join the campaign and sign up.
We know this is not just about Syria. This is a time for solidarity with those struggling for their human rights all around the globe. Syria and its plight may have in recent times faded to the back pages of our news, but such tyranny, inhumanity, and resultant suffering is in the forefront of every mind of goodwill. Easter is the perfect time to resurrect this notion of humanity: Many as One.