During my layover in Arizona over spring break, I had a lot of time to kill at the airport. While I’m typically not one to watch news stations regularly, the television at my gate aired a PSA titled Save The Children, and it definitely caught my attention. The public service announcement was aimed at bringing awareness to the ongoing conflict in Syria and the deleterious effects it is having on children.
For those who aren’t familiar with the violence in Syria, the conflict began in March 2011 when Deraa locals held a peaceful protest after fifteen children had been arrested, and supposedly tortured, for creating anti-government graffiti (BBC, 2014). On March 18, 2011, the Syrian army opened fire on protesters, killing four. Mourners gathered at the victims’ funerals were also shot at by the Syrian army the very next day (BBC, 2014). As a result, the Syrian public insisted that the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad resign. Not surprisingly, Assad refused.
There are several rebel groups that have gotten involved in the cause and are using violence in hopes to achieve their goals. Other opposition groups are using non-violent means to get Assad to resign. Chemical weapons have been used during the war, though it is not clear whether the government or the rebel groups are responsible for the attacks. In October of 2013, the Syrian government began destroying their chemical weapons in order to avoid a broader conflict (BBC, 2014).
The refugee crisis in Syria has been gathering a lot of attention from the media, and rightfully so. Each and every day Syrian refugees flee to neighboring countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq in hopes of escaping the violence. According to Save The Children, the organization that released this time-lapse video, “children have been the forgotten victims of Syria’s horrific war. Today, over 5 million children are in need of assistance, including over 1 million children who have sought refuge in neighboring countries. These children are at risk of becoming a “lost generation” and cannot be ignored (Save The Children, 2014).” The organization’s website features a number of shocking statistics; 1 in 3 children have been hit, kicked or shot at in Syria.
Clearly, the need for a moving public service announcement was in order, and Save The Children produced just that. The time-lapse video features a young girl as her life spirals out of control due to the Syrian conflict. At the end of the video, the words “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening” appear. Considering that the video has received over 24 million views on YouTube, I would say that the goal of bringing awareness to the issue has been achieved.
Save The Children (2014). Syria – Save the Children. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.7998857/k.D075/Syria.htm?msource=wexgpsyr0312&gclid=CJ7N1ceAjL0CFaw-MgodqD8A6w
BBC (2013, December 12). CBBC Newsround – What’s happening in Syria and will the violence end? Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://www.bbc.com/newsround/16979186