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.
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.
PAX launched the Activist Academy in Beirut in May 2014. The Academy is part of the educational system of Peace Activism 2.0, a program aiming to support, inspire and improve the work of young activists.
The Activist Academy brings together activists that will take up both the role of teacher/trainer and student. During the masterclasses that are given, theory and practice are combined. During this academy in Beirut we spoke about the following topics: Cyber Security, Non-violent activism in a violent context, Live Broadcasting from the spot, Using Bambuser, audiovisuals in Activism & Preparing people to take direct action.
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.