Oh, benighted child of my generation that I am, I have been looking around on the internet for signs of solidarity demos with Syria and disappointed at how few I found. Then the light dawned – this is the 21st century and what I should be looking for were “flash mobs”. And there they were – two, three many “flash mobs for Syria.”
These involve relatively small numbers (although Toronto had 275 people at theirs) but they are powerfully moving ways of communicating the reality of Syria. Most seem to be initiated by Syrians, but in some places (mostly outside the U.S., I’m afraid to say) there appeared to be significant involvement by others.
And there was even a small trace of left participation in Chicago.
Here are some of my favourites:
- A high school in Edmonton
- Austin, Texas
- Chicago(Chicago has held 3 and there isactually as small sign of left participation here)
- Manchester UK
- Birmingham UK
Returning to the mundane world of demos, if you take a look on the internet you will see that there is a lot of activity in solidarity with the Syrian revolution by Syrian-American groups. But they look rather lonely, with hardly a sign of left or labor movement involvement. And this is not from lack of trying. Young people from the Chicago Syrian-American community have being going around the local churches appealing for support.
If you feel shamed by that fact and would like to make some contacts, perhaps just to discuss the Syrian situation and hear what they have to say, or are ready to take part in active solidarity or contribute to humanitarian relief of a terribly beleaguered people, here are some ideas (you won’t even have to suspend your anti-imperialist principles: as long as you’re prepared to chant “Free Syria” you’ll be welcome).
There’s a group of young people called the Syrian Rising Generation Movement who seem very active and their Facebook page collates info of various initiatives:
The Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) has been described as the main national grassroots coalition inside Syria, linked to the local coordinating committees. They have some presence in the US. Their website is http://www.srg commission.org/ (mostly in Arabic) and their email is email@example.com
There are a lot of videos of Syrian-American activities on YouTube posted by SyrianFreedomFighter.
If you’re in or near Chicago you’re in luck: its a real hub of activity. Chicago4Syria is the place to go for details.
There’s also a lot of activity across New Jersey and some in Boston.
If you prefer to support humanitarian relief, Shaam Relief Foundation looks to me reputable and widely supported.
Anyone in Canada can go to Canadian Relief for Syria an organization that does important medical relief work, despite the obstruction of the Canadian government.
Brian Slocums is a retired social scientist and was a militant in the Canadian and British Trotskyist movement over many years. He is now politically unaffiliated but retains a firm commitment to socialist values, while accepting the need to rethink the means through which they can best be realized.