In Memoriam: 200 000 Syrians

On October 30th PAX organized a public action to ask attention for the violence against Syrian citizens. More than 200 000 Syrians are killed in the last few years. Right in front of the parliament in The Hague, we set up a commemoration service together with a silent protest to remember all Syrian victims. Dark clothing, white roses, the crown, the obituaries, and the grey weather made the memorial powerful and purposeful, while being sober at the same time.

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Marcell’s visit to the Netherlands – 28-31 October 2014

Standing at the arrivals at the airport I am looking around holding a paper in my hand with ‘MARCELL’ written on it. Making sure the sign is visible, I am getting impatient – it takes more than forty-five minutes already and I don’t know what this Marcell looks like. Suddenly I almost get hit by a trolly with three suit cases on top, and a woman behind it calling: ‘Are you Irma? Than I am supposed to go with you!’, and then, slightly grumpy: ‘I need food’. Meet Marcell Shehwaro, a thirty-year old blogger and activist from Aleppo, the biggest city in Syria. She is visiting the Netherlands as a part of her trip to different European cities – the next stops are Brussels and Berlin. Her goal is to raise awareness about the wrong display of reality here in Europe – the message we receive (mainly through media) does not represent the true situation in Syria.

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Meet Edgar

Edgar Khachatryan, a.k.a. The Professor, is the director of the Peace Dialogue NGO – an organization working on peacebuilding and human rights issues in Armenia and the South Caucasus. Edgar is a strategic thinker, reasoning from strategy and deep analysis. In order to become a successful activist he believes in a proper and deep assessment of the context an activist is operating in.

Edgar has been working in the South Kaukasus for a long time, on issues regarding human rights and peacebuilding. In his masterclass on ‘mobilising people’ Edgar shared great inside on theory behind one of activists’ main questions: ‘How do I mobilise people for my cause?’ Watch his masterclass and be inspired.

Follow the Peace Dialogue NGO on Facebook or Twitter: @peacedialogue


Meet Fadi

Fadi Taher works for the Media House in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. He’s a photographer and videographer and gives training on the use of video, photo and visuals in activism. “The shape and form in which you present your message is closely linked to the effectiveness of that message. In order to improve that shape and form certain ground rules need to followed.” See it, film it, change it! Read more on what he taught us during the Activist Academy in Beirut this spring.

Follow Fadi on Twitter: @fishiologe


Meet Wael

Wael Abbas is a very well known activist from Egypt who has found over 260.000 people on Twitter interested enough to press the Follow-button to watch his every step (with over 214.000 tweets we conclude he’s quite active). Wael was one of the most active bloggers and Twitter-users during the Egyptian revolution and still operates from Cairo.

Wael even has his own Wikipedia-page:

Wael Abbas (Arabic: وائل عباس‎) (born November 14, 1974 in Egypt) is an internationally renowned Egyptian journalist, blogger, and human rights activist,[1] who blogs at Misr Digital (Egyptian Awareness).[2] He reported an incident of mob harassment of women, and broadcast several videos of police brutality. His actions led to the conviction of police for torture, but he has been harassed by the Egyptian government, and his accounts with YouTubeand Yahoo were closed. YouTube has since restored his account and most of his videos. Facebook had deleted Wael’s account but it has since been restored”

Wael is very urged to teach more activists about the different strategies to broadcast your own ‘news’ items, which was also an important part of our Activist Academy in Beirut this spring. Read about his masterclass in Beirut, listen to his tips and start broadcasting yourself!

Read Wael’s famous blogs [Arabic] and start following him on Twitter too: @waelabbas


Meet Marcell

Meet Marcell Shehwaro, an activist from Aleppo and well know for her blogs about life in Aleppo. Concerning the extreme situations that activists are facing in Iraq and Syria, her stories are extremely important and resourceful at the moment.

Marcell is 30 years old and recently fled Aleppo out of a deteriorating security situation in Syria. She is part of group called Kesh Malek, a group of activists and human rights defenders that –despite the war- keep on protesting and demonstrating against the Assad-regime and which main goal is to warrant freedoms – of press, of education, of justice – for example by providing people with revealing news and supporting projects with a similar goal. Kesh Malek organizes activities and education for young children in Aleppo and is involved in demonstrations against the regime and the armed Islamic Groups in the north of Syria. Marcell wants to counteract current polarisation by setting up schools in destroyed Aleppo, to provide the children who still live there with worthy education. One of these school is the Mustafa Qarman-school, named after one of the founders – and one of Marcell’s best friends – who unfortunately got killed by Al-Assad’s army. You can support the Mustafa Qarman school in Aleppo through PAX’s project ‘Adopt a Revolution’.

One of Kesh Malek’s most recent campaigns is #SameShit, which aim is to spread the message of Al-Assad and ISIS being two sides of the same coin – one kills in the basement, the other kills in the sunlight. Get your own stickers and spread this shit!

Read our own blog about her visit to the Netherlands in October this year and get to know Marcell even better.