International Rescue Committee: The IRC helps refugees by improving their lives in the areas of health, safety, education, and economic wellbeing. Donate here.
Syrian American Medical Society Foundation: SAMS provides medical treatment to people in Syria. Donate here.
Mercy Corps: The Mercy Corps give people in crisis the assistance and tools they need to build better lives for themselves. Donate here.
Save the Syrian Children: Save the Syrian Children delivers medical supplies to hospitals in Syria. Donate here.
Direct Relief: Direct Relief gives medical assistance to people affected by emergencies. Donate here.
Doctors Without Borders: MSF provides emergency medical aid to people impacted by conflict. Donate here.
SOS Mediterranee: SOS Mediterranee operates search and rescue missions to save people in the Mediterranean. Donate here.
Today is International Youth Day, an official UN day established to highlight the crucial role that young people play in building and keeping peace in areas of conflict around the world.
Meet Mohamad Aljunde, a 16-year-old refugee who left Syria in December 2013 and started a new life with his family in Lebanon. He appears in — and lends his filmmaking ability to — Cries From Syria. Mohamad brings awareness to the Syrian government’s war on its citizens, and holds up a mirror to those who turn a blind eye. Read our interview with him below.
Cries From Syria:Why did you leave Syria?
Mohamad Aljunde: My mother had been arrested twice already for resisting and protesting the regime. Then government sent a letter to her threatening to arrest her if she did not leave Syria. My family left Syria for Lebanon the next day.
CFS: What do you miss most about life in Syria?
MA: I miss the people there -- my family and friends. I miss my house and the day-to-day life in Syria.
CFS: How did you get into filmmaking? How did you start teaching filmmaking to kids?
MA: In Lebanon, I took a filmmaking course for 8 months, After that, I made my first movie and started learning on my own.
After I made three short films I decided to teach kids to make films, so I started teaching them to use simple cameras and focused on teaching them the ways they can express their ideas and stories through film.
CFS: What do you hope to achieve with your videos? When you teach kids filmmaking, what do you hope they get out of it?
MA: I make films because I want people to see that we as teenagers have the ability to discuss serious issues and that although Syrians live in the middle of a war, we still can be creative.
I hope filmmaking enables the kids to tell their stories so the world can understand and care. For me, the media is covering the stories they want to show, so it’s important for the kids to learn to tell their own stories.
CFS: What’s the one thing you want to say to other kids and youths still struggling to live in Syria?
MA:I can't tell them to stay strong because I’m not experiencing what they’re going through right now but what I can say is that I consider them to be true heroes and that there is hope for us, the new generation, because we have youths and kids who can survive and resist.
CFS: How/why do you think young people are important to building peace in Syria?
MA:We have grown up witnessing everything that happened in the country. That, along with our creativity, means that we know what we have to do to build the Syria we always dreamed of.
CFS: By sharing your story, both in the film and now, what impact do you hope to have on the situation in Syria?
MA:I hope that people who read this interview and watch the movie will know that we are still here resisting and that we still believe in Syria and the revolution.
Anyone with even a shred social conscience should find the comprehensive Syrian civil war documentary “Cries From Syria” a truly devastating experience. It should be required viewing for any public official involved with shaping any laws or policies regarding the fate of Syrian refugees.
Director Evgeny Afineevsky (Oscar-nominated for 2015’s “Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom”) has deftly assembled a wealth of astonishing, you-are-there footage, much of it shot by Syrian activists and ordinary citizens from early 2011, when the Arab Spring protests gave way to armed conflict, through 2016, as fighting continued with no end in sight.
BEIRUT (AP) - It has been 18 months since the body of 3-year old Aylan Kurdi washed up on the shore of Turkey, the premature end of a flight from Syria.
Nilüfer Demir’s photo of Kurdi, face down in the morning surf, prompted an outpouring of compassion for refugees around Europe and North America.
Now, voters in developed countries are rewarding candidates for smearing refugee resettlement as a cultural and security threat, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Director Evgeny Afineevsky hopes his new documentary, “Cries From Syria,” which premieres at 10 p.m. EST Monday on HBO, can revive our collective sympathy.
Director Evgeny Afineevsky and Syrian subject Kholoud Helmi talk about the new film, which chronicles the country's descent into civil war after initially hopeful demonstrations of the Arab Spring.
As I was growing up, teachers and other authority figures made me feel more comfortable about the state of the world by asserting that past atrocities like the Japanese Internment and the Holocaust couldn’t happen today. Adulthood pokes holes in the theory that we as a people won’t make the same mistakes and commit the same crimes we have throughout history. But it’s never been as starkly clarified how much the world can turn their backs to atrocities as with the current situation in Syria. Over half a million people have been killed this decade in the country, and millions have fled the nightmarish situation for countries throughout Europe and even all the way to the United States. And, for the most part, the world has done nothing. Evgeny Afineevsky’s “Cries From Syria,” opening in limited release today and playing on HBO on Monday night, isn’t so much a documentary as it as confrontation. Look at this and ask yourself if you can still do nothing. It should be required viewing for everyone in a position of power worldwide, especially those who would choose to enable genocide and stigmatize those who flee it.
Evgeny Afineevsky, director of HBO's Cries from Syria, & Kholoud Helmi, an activist featured in the film, explore the tragic effects of Syria's civil war.