Syria – ‘Stop the killing’ campaign

(di Rima Dali*, 15 giugno 2012). You can make an immediate difference in the lives of Syrians. It has been over a year since the violence first began in Syria and has continued to escalate since. While Syria and Syrians have been incredibly resilient, it is becoming increasingly clear that the violence is escalating and cycle of violence and counter-violence currently operating in an oppressive environment.

One may not necessarily regard the events in Syria as dangerous as many other episodes of violence in history; such as Rwanda, South Africa and/or Kosovo. But this phase in the history of Syria and the history of the crisis in Syria is a critical one. We have been given a rare opportunity to mobilize; which is conferred to us by the resilience of this country and its people that have prevented a larger scale of violence and destruction.

We, therefore, have a collective moral responsibility to be proactive and to address rising tensions now. We need to exercise our voice now to link, share and pass on the experiences of violence and civil war; to articulate a road map that can guide us through a peaceful solution to lead us out of the current impasse to save Syria and the region from descent into war.

This is what we are aiming to do with the “Stop the Killing; We Want to Build a Homeland for All Syrians” Campaign. The “Stop the Killing” Movement began on April 8, 2012 when I stood in front of the Syrian Parliament carrying a banner with this slogan. Perhaps the importance of the message is that it spoke to a large number of Syrians; perhaps it was the simplicity of the message or perhaps it articulated the initial vision that encouraged Syrians to mobilize for change over a year ago.

Perhaps it was all of these reasons that encouraged others to spontaneously carry similar banners in towns and cities all over the country. However, regardless of the reason, it clearly shows that Syrians still believe that a peaceful solution is possible and in the interest of all Syrians. This is something we must all nurture and build on for the sake of Syria and its future.

While this campaign has been adopted by many Syrians, it remains most nurtured and engaged by the opposition, meaning it has been adopted and followed by many opposition groups and activists in Syria which are now coordinating to expand into a broad-based movement towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria.

We hope to work together; we hope you can support or endorse our campaign as a symbol of peace and struggle. What we hope is to give our campaign voice, to lend it moral support in a time where Syrians are fending for their dignity as well as the future of their country.

We hope you can play a role as an influential person, an individual of peace to support us through a wider and balanced dissemination of this idea and initiative between all sides in Syria. This will compliment current initiatives and activities organized on in Syria towards a peaceful solution. We hope that our call in the spirit of cooperation will allow us to benefit from your rich experience in peaceful struggle to be able to build a homeland for all Syrians.

I’m counting on your support.

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* Rima Dali è la giovane attivista siriana che l’8 aprile 2012 bloccò il traffico di fronte alla sede del Parlamento a Damasco esponendo un telo rosso con una scritta bianca: “Basta con le uccisioni. Vogliamo costruire una patria per tutti i siriani”. Da allora, centinaia di siriani, per lo più giovani e delle città, si sono uniti al suo appello spontaneo. Alcuni di loro, come la stessa Rima, sono finiti in carcere per questo.