7 Ways in 7 Days We Can Show Solidarity With the People of Syria
By Tabitha Bast / wire.novaramedia.com

Feeling powerless after the UK parliament voted for the bombing of Syria and not sure what to do next? Somewhere between overwhelming hopelessness and heading off to join the Kurdish YPJ (women’s protection units) there are a range of everyday acts of solidarity. Here are a week’s worth:

Day 1: Stop strategising.

The chances are you don’t have that much experience as a military strategist, and yet social media is alive with declarations such as ‘airstrikes won’t stop Isis!’

These statements are at best a move to support our own anti-intervention ideology rather than rooted in fact (when 25% of Isis territory has been taken back with assistance of airstrikes so far). Pronouncing on the particulars around how the British state should or should not fight the war on Isis might be gratuitously fascinating, but it isn’t active solidarity.

Day 2: Start strategising.

What we do need to do is strategise around our action; that which we can shift, influence, bend and break. A fine example of directionlessness was the call-out to lobby MPs after the vote on airstrikes had happened, seemingly for no purpose other than to demonstrate our wrath.

Focusing that rage on Hilary Benn, now temporarily heralded as the Winner of the War Speeches, demonstrates an even greater lack of hope that we have any power to make a difference. There was never going to be a phone call to Cameron saying he’d changed his mind and could they vote again.

However, there are plenty of weak spots in the policies of the elite that stand a chance of caving to pressure. Delisting the PKK – the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and NATO – would be a start. The uneasy alliance the West has with the Kurdish struggle (whilst the Kurds remain the greatest resistance to Isis) occurs whilst simultaneously the UK criminalises the Kurdish population, keeping the PKK proscribed and locking up teenager Shilan Özçelik in the UK for wanting to fight ISIS. Awkward. Especially as the UK is best buddies with Turkey, who are bombing the Kurds and assisting Isis. Lobbying MPs to delist the PKK is what Kurds in the UK are asking for. Sign and share the petition today.

Day 3: Banners back at ya, Kafranbel!

Raed Fares, an activist from Liberated Kafranbel, ‘The Little Syrian Town That Could’, explains that the town’s residents chose to draw in English, rather than Arabic, explicitly to reach an international audience. “It’s very important to send our message to all the world,” he said. “And English is the public language.”

Spreading the word is what we’re being asked to do, so share today. And begin the dialogue. If we are on the streets with banners and signs, make a message of solidarity to the resisters at Kafranbel as part of the humanising conversation we can have.

Day 4: Hear Syrian voices.

We don’t have to all be experts in Middle East politics and actually it might be best if we don’t try to be. What we can do is listen to what Syrians are saying. It doesn’t have to be turgid texts; give books by Syrian authors as Christmas presents.

Day 5: Not ‘not in my name’.

Of the 36 massacres in Syria last month, only one was in ‘our name’. Of course, that’s one too many but it’s high time we talked about Bashar al-Assad, the brutal Syrian president. Stop the War Coalition has come under fire from Syrians in the UK for ignoring Syrian voices.

The handwringing about coalition bombing combined with a silence and a silencing on Assad comes across as a curious nationalism. We don’t want our bombs to kill civilians – but that’s about our guilt, not the civilians dead. And the stats are brutal: since 2011, 95.96% of Syrian civilians killed have been at the hands of Assad’s forces. 180,879 dead Syrians is an enormous elephant in the room. From today on – never mention Syria without saying Assad.

Day 6: Cough up.

Direct funding to struggles in Syria is an obvious way to demonstrate solidarity. The revolution in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) has gained attention over the last year for its commitment to gender equality, autonomy and grassroots democracy.

Unfortunately a lot of that attention has taken the form of spirited debates amongst individuals and organisations guessing how perfectly utopian it may or may not be, rather than direct aid to rebuild a society devastated by the war with Isis. Plan C’s Rojava solidarity cluster, amongst other solidarity groups, is raising funds for medical equipment and essential supplies to rebuild Rojava and is already well over target thanks to everyone who put their money where their mouth is.

Day 7: Keep fighting on the home front.

As Emily Apple suggests in The Canary, there are a range of campaigns and actions we can engage in here in the UK. We need to make complex links and recognise the other acts and strategies not so overtly tied to ‘our bombs’ but just as integral to the situation for Syrians, as well as the rest of us. From action for the women who’ve fled the brutal rape culture of warwe can work to shut down Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

Solidarity is everything from keeping fascism off our streets to fighting greenwash in the ecology movement for all the reasons Maddy Hodgson has explained on NovaraWire.

Solidarity is and can be many more effective, joyous and creative things than a limp cardboard sign on a wet winter day.

Photo: Kafranbel Artists/Occupied Liberated Kafranbel

If you want to support media for a different politics, you can donate or subscribe to Novara Media at support.novaramedia.com.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Novara Wire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Published 29th November 2015

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 38,365 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 20,058 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 9,919 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
How Big Banks Launder Money and Get Away With It
9 min · 3,858 views today · 'I wrote about how money laundering was actually done... they spiked it.' Parliamentary Candidate David Malone was a popular second choice in the UK Green Party leadership...
Why I Didn't Vote Trump or Hillary
Joe Brewer · 3,744 views today ·   This is my ballot. It arrived in the mail where I live in Washington state — and I’ve already sent it back to the elections committee. Note how I didn’t vote for either...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 3,614 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 3,495 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 3,281 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 2,505 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,562 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Speaking Out Against Australia's Unforgiving Refugee Policy
42 min · 1,115 views today · The Forgotten Children: More than a hundred child refugees are stuck in asylum limbo on the island of Nauru as a result of Australia's harsh and unsympathetic border policies...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,024 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 779 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 704 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 684 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
Social Geographer Shows How Much of You is Determined by Where You're From
3 min · 669 views today · The Professor of Geography examines social inequality and the geodemographics of the UK, using maps created by Oliver O'Brien (UCL, CASA) in 2012 and updated in 2015. You can...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 654 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 613 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 566 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 440 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
7 Ways in 7 Days We Can Show Solidarity With the People of Syria