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New Breed of Syrian Activists

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 7/03/2016 George Batah

The Syrian crisis has been widely publicized in recent months and not so long ago, the UK, Norway, Germany and Kuwait held a conference in London along with the United Nations to address the ongoing situation. The main aim of this was to raise funding in order to meet the immediate needs as well as needs in the long-term of those affected. After raising over $11 billion (including $5.8 billion to be used in 2016 and $5.4 to be used over the next four years), the conference can be seen as a success and the NGOs, governments and non-profit organizations now have sufficient spending to plan for the time ahead.
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It wasn't just money that came out of the conference though as it was decided that an invitation would be sent to Syrian activists in addition to representatives from the Syrian civil society so that they have an opportunity to present their vision and experience in order to address the problems being encountered. This was an important step as it shows that Syrian activists and members of civil society are being respected and are gaining credibility as they will be able to help the crisis with Syrian thoughts and solutions. The many world leaders are finally showing that they understand the problem and are willing to seek advice on how the crisis can be solved.
The situation in Syria is always evolving and what has struck me in recent weeks is the tone being used by Syrian activists across the world. The founder and CEO of Sawa for Development, Dr. Rouba Mohaissan, was a prime example of this. Having been based between the UK and Lebanon working with Syrian refugees since 2011, she spoke with world leaders with sophistication, a fluent accent, and confidence. There wasn't even a hint of looking for sympathy, just honesty in how their lack of action has affected the situation. Her speech was strong having shouted statements such as "end the violence, ensure accountability and access to human aid". Dr. Mohaissan addressed a number of issues including humanitarian aid, heath, education, women empowerment and more before asking for safe routes to Europe to be made available. Perhaps the most poignant statement of all was "speak to us, not about us" as she asked for the civil leaders to be at the head of change, not just an invitation to discuss.

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The statement from Dr. Mohaissan really showed that her and her colleagues alike can really have leverage and power when it comes to solving daily challenges experienced by Syrians. For example, she spoke with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and asked for help to relieve the financial constraints and he agreed. Would a world leader have agreed if it was an opposition leader asking or even less likely the Syrian government? I doubt it.
She presented herself in a professional manner, spoke in a language that was understood by all and clearly had an effect on proceedings. She touched on issues like education, women empowerment, access to decent world and more, and that resonated well as they were topics that were important issues in their own countries. It really did show that she and her partners are credible and can help in providing achievable solutions.
There is now a new breed of Syrian activists as many began working during the war and what differentiate them from politicians and opposition leaders is having less interest in politics and historical conflicts ; and more interest in humanitarian issues and solutions. Syria is at the forefront of their thinking, not how the government stands and where it will be in the future. They are trusted more as they have higher ethical standards, something that has been lacking in Syria in recent times and can really have a positive impact in a war-torn environment. This new breed of Syrian activists have proven to be the best chance of saving valuable lives, ensuring the well-being of humans and getting resources to those in need and hopefully in the future building Syria again.
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