Aleppo is so far away from Malta, it’s easy to feel helpless when you hear of street executions of women and children as we did this week. The truth is there isn’t much we can do. We can’t stop the war, and that’s ultimately what needs to happen.
But when you search #Aleppo on Twitter (thankfully the internet is holding up in Aleppo so far), you realise there is something very small we can do that could have a big impact. The victims of this war are mostly afraid that they have been forgotten. Five years of fighting down the line, they fear we don’t care anymore. Being forgotten means armies can act with impunity. It means NGOs might not afford to bring aid to the victims. It means the war could take longer to end. So this is what we can do to show the people of Aleppo – and the politicians in charge – that we have not forgotten what is happening.
1. Donate to the cause
Here is a list of the amazing NGOs supporting the relief efforts in Syria. Choose one and donate. Or donate to each one. There’s also White Helmets that do a fantastic job and deserve to be on that list. Donating is the single most impactful thing you can do right now. NGOs often survive from month to month depending on how many people like us are ready to actually go through with a donation after reading an article like this. Small amounts of money from all over the world can make the difference between life and death. Donate right now.
2. Write to our political leaders
It doesn’t take much for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to Tweet. He had even tweeted about one of Lovin Malta’s first quizzes back in the day. But where are his tweets about Aleppo? Today he can actually use his influence as the incoming President of the EU Council to urge the countries with power to stop the fighting and evacuate the victims. Here’s his email address. Go crazy. And you can also email Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, Foreign Minister George Vella and our MEPs too: Alfred Sant, Roberta Metsola, Miriam Dalli, Therese Comodini Cachia and Marlene Mizzi.
Here’s some suggested text for your email:
Why are you not talking about the atrocities in Aleppo? Malta should stand with the victims of war. We must put all the pressure we can on finding a peaceful solution. Please add your voice to the voices around the world, let us show the victims they have not been forgotten.”
3. Organise a demonstration
Remember what the President said this week? “If we take to the streets, we should walk for reconciliation, hope, solidarity and oneness.” Let’s take to the streets then and show our solidarity with the innocent people holed up in Aleppo and other war zones around the world.
4. Understand why refugees need our help
There’s no point feeling bad for the people of Aleppo while arguing that boats arriving to Europe with refugees should be sent back with no questions asked. If millions of people are pushed out of their country, they have to go somewhere. Millions are in refugee camps close to Syria but others have made their way to Europe to seek a more stable existence. Ultimately, we are all citizens of the world and when strife like this hits, we are all in this together. While you’re at it, why not help out a Malta-based NGO that works to save refugees (including Syrian refugees) at sea? Read all about Migrant Offshore Aid Station and donate.
5. Support refugees and other migrants in our community
We live in a country where homeless migrants are dying in the streets and many others recount stories of abuse at all levels of society. Instead of supporting the government’s plans to deport failed asylum seekers who have been contributing to society for years, let’s urge the government to take hospitality more seriously. This won’t help the people in Aleppo, but it will help others who have also been forced out of their home countries because of war and similar realities.