From Berlin to Aleppo: At Least They’re Doing Something


It seems to me that people are sick and tired of sitting by helplessly, while men wage war and bicker and refuse to make peace and lie and deny climate change and do shady business deals and all the other things that we have to sit and watch them do every day. There are plans to take action, it appears. For example, on Inauguration Day next month, women will lead a protest march to Washington.

The beautiful city of Aleppo before the bombs started to fall.
The beautiful city of Aleppo before the bombs started to fall.

So, today, I discovered something that I just wanted to share. Through my friends at Global Voices (I write articles regularly for this website) I learned about a group called Civil March for Aleppo. Organized by Anna Alboth, a Polish journalist and activist living in Berlin, Germany, they plan to march in peaceful protest from Berlin to Aleppo, Syria from December 26, 2016 to January 9, 2017. They hope to be about 3,000 strong. They are on Facebook and on Twitter @AleppoMarch. They are from Germany, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Poland, Brazil and many other countries.

The ancient city of Aleppo is ravaged by war. Here people walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen district, Syria, May 3, 2016. (Photo: Abdalrahman Ismail, Reuters)
The ancient city of Aleppo is ravaged by war. Here people walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo’s Baedeen district, Syria, May 3, 2016. (Photo: Abdalrahman Ismail, Reuters)

With the situation in Syria so overwhelming and complex, there are many who will ascribe political motives to them – possibly for their own political reasons. There are always the cynics to contend with: this is just a bunch of naïve idealists, who will likely get themselves killed. Or the “what’s the point?” brigade. They are always out in force (OK. So give us an alternative?) We scroll through our timelines daily, sometimes watching heart-wrenching videos or look at graphic photographs – sometimes skipping over them, depending on the mood we’re in. You know already how it goes. We can’t handle the pain, and we feel powerless.

Well, here is some of what this group has posted on its Facebook page. Let them speak for themselves; and do get in touch if you would like to know more.

“It’s time to act.
We cant sit in front of our laptops and do nothing.
We can’t drink cafe latte and do nothing.

We’ve had enough of clicking the sad or shocked faces on facebook and writing “this is terrible” and “we’re so powerless”.

No, we are not! We are far too many!

We are going to Aleppo. From Germany to Aleppo, along the so-called “refugee route”, just the opposite direction.

We’ve been taught submission to war. We’ve been taught to be afraid of the powerful who pull the strings. We’ve been persuaded to take sides with “the good” and blame “the bad”, to accept the division of people into the better and the worse, the ones who can sleep safely in their own beds and the ones who have to flee for their lives. “That’s just the way it is” – we’ve been told.

But we refuse to take it anymore. We’ve just withdrawn our consent. We’re ready to deny powerlessness.

We want to go and help people like us, who just were not lucky enough to be born in Berlin, London or Paris. We will not tolerate the siege of Aleppo anymore. Civilians for civilians, we will walk, hand in hand, from Berlin, through the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey, to Aleppo.

It’s a long way. Just as long as the refugees had to come to save their lives. Now we want to do the same to save some other lives. And we’re marching together in a big, big group.

We are just random, average people. We don’t represent any specific political parties or organizations.

We’re carrying these white flags to let the whole world know our message: Enough is enough. This war has to stop!

And this war can be stopped. This war can be ended with a few strokes of a pen. But even if we still have to wait for that, we can’t wait and see the suffering of the people of Aleppo. No one deserves what they are going through. It’s no longer a “normal” war if children’s hospitals become the targets. We don’t want to just observe it from a safe distance. And we won’t!

We’re determined to shake this feeling of helplessness and start to act. We’re determined, we’re united and we will march as long as it takes. For peace.

Do you also think it’s enough? Do you also want to do more than crying in front of your laptop? We’ve been passive for too long. Our tears and anger have to be transformed into action.

This is our action. We are going to Aleppo. What will happen then? Will they send bombs on our 5000-people crowd? Will they dare to do that?!
You think we are crazy? We think that it’s crazy to sit and wait until everybody dies.

Let’s not wait. Let’s just go there and put an end to this madness.

We are starting on 26th December, from Berlin. In a group of 3000 people. Will you join us?”

Well, I may be a naïve idealist, myself. I do, however, believe in giving peace a chance, as John and Yoko sang all those years ago.

How about it? Action for peace.

Maria is one of the organizers of the Civil March for Aleppo. (Photo: Facebook)
Maria is one of the organizers of the Civil March for Aleppo. (Photo: Facebook)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s