To provide a deeper insight into the matter of the Syrian refugees, Diana, Syria, UWCD’17, initiated the “Give a Rose for Syria” day, during which she handed out 80 roses and 4 different stories, told by people who come from four different provinces of Syria, signifying a prayer for Syria to overcome these terrible times that have numbed the Syrian population.
"The "Give a Rose for Syria" event was held in many places, including in other UWCs. What I appreciate about the project is the amount of room it leaves for individuals to convey their own message within the process. As far as I know, it had been carried out in many other places before now - however, I got to know about it from one of my Syrian third years in UWC Maastricht. She organized the project in the city of Maastricht to raise awareness about the Syrian refugees who fled their home after the conflict that arose in the early months of 2011.
I, however, had a quite different idea in terms of the purpose of the initiative and the thoughts I wanted to voice. Having spent quite some time at UWC, I have come to realize that public empathy is directed by the media, in the sense that people who strive to be 'globally aware' citizens end up paying attention to what websites say and what TV channels report, which is a very small piece, if any, of the reality. Building on that, the fact that Europe has the largest number of Syrian refugees, which is by now huge, meant that European media had a significant role in shifting most of the attention towards the refugee crisis there. While it is a crucial consequence of the conflict, I think that the actual conflict inside Syria is also worthy of the same attention because it is the actual cause of this insane diaspora in the first place.
The goal of my version of the initiative was to raise awareness about the struggle of people living in the bleeding country of Syria since the conflict was sparked. It is my belief that the brutality of the media that the country is exposed to is far more jingoistic than the actual slaughter. Pain becomes more hurtful when it is not recognized and is forgotten. To put these ideas into action, I translated four different stories into English, told by people who come from four different provinces of Syria. The stories heartbreakingly narrate the pain and loss those ordinary people have endured. They come from different religious backgrounds, have different political orientations, and have lost their beloved ones in different experiences of blood and anguish. I have deliberately depicted this diversity to emphasize the fact, although taking different forms, their tragedy is united. Overall, I distributed 80 roses to different members of UWC Dilijan community, attaching the set of four stories to each rose. After much hard work to set the project up, the responses were heart-warming and I very much hope it conveyed the intended message."
Diana, Syria, UWCD'17