Thursday, March 13, 2014

#WithSyria

I am #WithSyria

We're coming up on the third anniversary of the beginning of the catastrophic crisis in Syria, and sadly, we can say this is statistically the worst humanitarian crisis of our 21st century thus far. Throughout my recently-completed 40 days of yoga for Syria and my fundraiser for the International Rescue Committee's work with refugees, I was humbled by the people who stepped up to support my fundraising efforts, through contributions and sharing on social media, messages of support, prayers and positive thoughts, and of course, my fellow yogis at Authentic Yoga Life. Thank you all so much. I know you've all made a difference in the lives of someone from Syria who really needs you now.

However, to be completely honest, I was also saddened by the fact that most people I know just ignored it. Because of the topic of my work, I know that the Middle East is "controversial" and brings up a lot of ridiculous emotions in people. People who are otherwise sensible get really vehement about dumb things when it comes to the Middle East. The common humanity we all share gets completely lost. However, as far as I'm concerned, there is nothing controversial about wanting to feed and educate and house and clothe displaced refugees. Is it because Syrians are Arabs, and people are racist against Arabs? Is it because it's just too painful to face babies dying, kids crossing borders without their families, or what? I know we are all overwhelmed and we can't "fix" everything. We all have our causes. This is one of mine, and I am particularly adamant in my desire to assist the MILLIONS OF CHILDREN who have been displaced by this war. We can deal with this now, or we can deal with it later, but regardless of how far you live from the Middle East, this is your problem. It's the world's problem, and it won't go away without everyone's help. You can run from the world's problems and even drown yourself in pseudo-news about Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, but you cannot hide from the long-term, multi-generational consequences of millions of refugees in the most geopolitically important region of the world. It will come back home to all of us, if we don't make an effort now. 

Banksy put this beautiful reworking of his art out this week, in solidarity with the #WithSyria campaign.


To me, this sums it all up. This is about an entire generation of children who are struggling to get the basics our children take for granted: education, shelter, security, health care, food. Like the video I posted at the top of this entry, they want to float away. Let us do what we can to make their lives stable once again.

Malala released this video this week, too, appealing for help for Syria's children. And in the clip below, you can watch her discuss the real danger that we will lose this entire generation of Syrians.


Tonight, there will be vigils all over the world to mark the beginning of this nightmare. If you follow the #withsyria hashtag on social media, you can see reports about this solidarity movement. If you want to take part in the Faces for Syria solidarity project, click here. Please, now is the time--we need to elevate awareness about this crisis and do everything we can to protect these children. Three years is three too many! If you'd like to give to the IRC and their work, please consider doing so through my fundraiser, which closes in a few weeks. There are many other organizations that are also working to save the children of Syria, including Save the Children, Oxfam, the UNHRC, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders, and many more. Thank you for your support. I am #WithSyria and I hope you are, too. 

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