So here we are yet again. November: the very word causes previously promising career paths and social lives to recoil in shock. As the days grow darker and darker, the temptation might be to seek solace in the cold glow of a Putlocker loading screen, but, as always dear reader, there is an alternative.
The fact of the matter is that in November, the third most depressing month, we find ourselves stressed to point of insanity over issues that, relative to the rest of the world, are minuscule: it is the problem-based equivalent of drowning in three inches of water. So while it may be tempting to binge watch Gossip Girl again, I’d wager a far more productive use of your time lies in the Buchanan. There you can watch representatives from Al Jazeera, The Red Cross, UNHCR, and many others discuss one of the most pressing issues of our time.
I speak of course of the Syria conflict, which provides enough journalistic ammunition every day to be the subject of innumerable articles. So before this becomes just another opinion piece it is best to hand over to Emily Miller, who is heading up the event and was interviewed a couple of days ago about the details of St Andrews For Syria. When asked about the White Helmet initiative she related how she watched the BBC documentary when it came out six weeks ago, saying: “[I] felt such responsibility to do something; the luxury and safety in which we comparatively live was not something I was able to reconcile.” She went on to discuss the event aims and subject matter in more detail.
What do you hope to achieve?
“We want to bring this discussion to the forefront of St Andrews discourse to facilitate enhanced engagement with this crisis. Furthermore, we also want to raise money for the White Helmets, who are the first responders in Aleppo and are the only people helping individuals when they are bombed, saving them from the rubble and taking them to the hospital.”
What topics will the panel discussion cover?
“We will be speaking about the refugee crisis and the work of NGOs in Syria, as well as government initiatives to resettle these displaced persons. We will also be assessing the impact this has had on humanitarian crisis response and how this has changed. We will furthermore be covering the media aspect of the crisis and how this conflict has come to be so misunderstood. There will also be a chance for student-led discussion. The whole debate will be chaired by the Head of the Syrian Centre in St Andrews who is a world expert on this topic, Professor Raymond Hinnebusch.”
How can students get involved in the movement?
“Students can come to the panel discussion to show their support to the White Helmets and the people suffering in Syria. Our main aim is to make Syria a main topic of conversation. They can also donate to the White Helmets and remain active on social media.”
Here we have a chance to get involved in a real and concerning world issue that very much lies at the core of what kind of world our generation will be living in. I hope to see you all there.
Tickets can be bought at @standrewsforsyria.eventbrite.co.uk
The panel discussion will be held at 7 pm on Friday 4 November.