On March 6th, 2011 in the Syrian city of Daraa several young boys were caught writing on a wall that “the people want to overthrow the regime”. The authorities responded by arresting over a dozen children, reportedly torturing them. It was an event that led to serious unrest and was part of a protest that ultimately turned into a full scale uprising that has rapidly led into a civil war. Three years on and 9 million Syrians have been displaced, many fleeing to neighbouring countries to find shelter. While world leaders wring their hands and ineffectually posture the suffering continues unabated.
On the 13th March 2014 an attempt will be made to show these leaders that we haven’t forgotten, that we will not ignore. Stand with Syria (#withsyria) is a worldwide demonstration of solidarity with the Syrian people. Vigils will be held in London (Trafalgar Square), New York, Khartoum, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Melbourne and other locations in over 30 countries and involving multiple organisations. As a symbol of this demonstration Banksy has created a new version of one of his most iconic images – the girl with a balloon. Entitled “There Is Always Hope” the child in the picture is now Syrian and it will a prominent motif in the vigils taking place. Get involved, show your support, the organisers have made it as easy as attending an event, taking a picture, updating your status or using the #withsyria tag to take part. Let’s try to make them listen. We need a breakthrough, we need peace. Now.