How you can aid the people trapped in Aleppo, Syria
The horrifying photographs and video footage of what is currently happening in Aleppo are probably being seen right now by all of us. Many of us are asking ourselves: What can I do?
We frequently feel powerless. We don't want to just ignore what is happening.
We feel responsible for what is going on there, but we don't know how to aid the people in Aleppo. Our options are limited and unfortunately, the outcome in Aleppo is being decided by others.
Be that as it may, there are a couple of things that you still can do. Decades from now, when your children ask you what you were doing at this time, if you don't want to admit that you were just baking cookies and shrugging your shoulders, you can do the following:
1) Write a letter to politicians. Such attempts may seem like they are in vain, but in our experience they are not - some of them will answer, some of them will have the option of making their disagreement with this situation known much more loudly than we can.
At the very least, the politicians will know that their potential voters disagree with the murder of the civilian population in Syria. You can use these contacts:
Czech Prime Minister: email@example.com
Czech Foreign Affairs Minister: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair of the Czech Senate: email@example.com
Chair of the Czech Chamber of Deputies: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Czech Chamber of Deputies: email@example.com
Chair of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security of the Czech Senate: BublanF@senat.cz
Vice-Chair of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security of the Czech Senate, Hassan Mezian: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can draw inspiration from the wording of a sample letter posted here.
2) Join a demonstration or organize a symbolic protest. Various events are being planned through the Facebook page "Czechs for Aleppo" (Češi pro Aleppo) and you will learn about most of them there.
If you happen to travel past the Russian Embassy in Prague, make a simple sign with a legible inscription such as "Save Aleppo” or “Stand with Aleppo”, take a photograph of yourself holding the sign in front of the embassy, and light a candle there. Share your photo online with the hashtag #savealeppo or #standwithaleppo - while this is just symbolic, online social networks do have their power and you could inspire others.
You can also join the protest peace march that is starting on 26 December from Berlin, Germany and will proceed through the Czech Republic. If you have any ideas for how to support this action, contact its organizers.
3) Support an organization providing humanitarian aid in Syria such as the Syrian White Helmets or other international organizations (such as the International Rescue Committee). In the Czech Republic such organizations are Doctors without Borders (Lékaři bez hranic) and People in Need (Člověk v tísni) - you can also choose to give directly to their SOS Sýrie fundraising drive and easily use a bank card online to make your donation.
4) Get involved in delivering aid to the refugees, because they are the people fleeing the hell of Syria. If you have time to travel to the Balkans for a couple of days, contact "We Aid Refugees" (Pomáháme lidem na útěku). You can also join the Prague Main Train Station Initiative (Iniciativa Hlavák), which aids people who have been released from Czech detention centers.
You can also contact a nonprofit here that works with migrants and refugees (such as the Organization for Aid to Refugees - OPU, or the Association for Integration and Migration - SIMI) - you can aid them with absolutely ordinary matters such as administration, organization of events, website management - all of this is important for aid to function.
5) Inform yourselves and make sure you do not succumb to propaganda while doing so - the situation in Syria is complex and confusing and it is not possible to say who the bad guys and who the good guys are there. Seek out information, analyze it, and beware of propaganda (look, for example, for information about what representatives of Syria have said at the UN Security Council sessions).
Never rely on just one information source. If you can read another language, then read the international media and verify all of the information you receive by comparing it with reporting from more than one source.
Do not fall victim to the impression that you cannot believe anything - it is a fact that innocent people are dying in Syria and nobody can deny that. Seek out information as to why this is happening.
6) Be active - follow Czech and world events and speak up when you don't like what you see. Organize collections, demonstrations, happenings, write your politicians - if you don't know how to do these things, let us know and we will advise you.
Last but not least, follow where the Czech arms manufacturers are exporting their products. We must not let things be ignored for as long as they have been in Aleppo.
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