Lynchpin

Holding it all together

While its war rages in Ukraine, Russia is struggling to stabilise its conflict-battered satellite in the Middle East, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is meeting his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, in Moscow on Tuesday. Syria wants assurances that Russia will not divert more forces away from Mr Assad’s civil war to the front in Ukraine. The Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian-backed private security contractor in Syria, has already scaled back its operations. Syria’s cash-poor government also desperately needs grain.

But Russia has demands, too. Turkey’s membership of NATO and location on the Black Sea makes its co-operation critical for Russia’s war in Ukraine. So Russia wants Mr Assad to make peace with his foe, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president. That would require Mr Assad to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees from Turkey and start reconciling with the Turkish-backed rebels in Syria’s north. But so far Russian efforts to push Mr Assad to accept a political settlement have come to nothing.

Source: The Economist, “The World in Brief” email newsletter, 23 August 2022. Photo credit: somewhere in central Petersburg, 22 August 2018, © The Russian Reader


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Calcium Carbonate

Two women are talking on a bus. One is going to Kyiv, the other to Riga.

— Why are you going back?

— Oh that. I have to bury the husband, at last. He’s been lying in the crematorium for four months. They’ve finally cleared the cemetery of mines.

— …

Source: Anastasia Magazova, Facebook, 10 August 2022. In the original, the dialogue between the two women is in Russian, while the two introductory sentences are in Ukrainian. Translated by the Russian Reader


The grille of the railing on Singers Bridge (Pevcheskii most) in central Petersburg. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

We were cruising the Moika by boat and came upon three military men standing on the hump of Singers Bridge — an infantry officer, a naval officer, and an aviator in the Syrian Army. They smiled at us and waved. At the last moment the sailor also shouted, nearly without an accent, “Glory to Russia!” FML

Source: Nikolay Konashenok, Facebook, 11 August 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


A Russian National Guard special rapid deployment force unit in Petersburg. Photo courtesy of Militaryimages.net

while I was feeding the baby, the culture channel showed the culture news. a priest said, but our parish’s residents (we heard “rapists”) defended Russia in Chechnya and other wars. images of icons featuring saints in military uniforms flashed on the screen. such are the culture news in the russian federation.

Source: Roman Osminkin, Twitter, 11 August 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


While waiting for a friend in Kuzminki, I overheard a conversation between two old men. (Chemists?)

— Do you mean to say, Mikhail Innokentyevich, that collective responsibility doesn’t exist?

— Why not? It does exist. But you can’t dissolve in it or engage in handwringing. You have to be firm whenever you can.

— But the proportion of such a solution is what matters to me. When should one dissolve, and when should one remain a solid substance with one’s own interests?

— Well, let’s suppose it’s CaCO3.

— And what do we use to dissolve it? Water? Or hydrochloric acid?

— Hmm, hydrochloric acid, probably. But what do we do now? Can’t we even precipitate?

Source: Zhanna Chernenko, Facebook, 12 August 2022. In Russian, the set phrase vypast’ v’ osadok, aside from its literal, “chemical,” meaning — “(to) precipitate (out of a solution)” — can also mean 1) (to) be very surprised; 2) (to) break with one’s circle; and 3) (to) get very drunk. Translated by the Russian Reader

UXO: Support the White Helmets!

My name is Nermin Al-Hassan and I’m one of the first women to join the White Helmets’ unexploded ordnance (UXO) removal team in northwest Syria. The White Helmets have responded to 247 military attacks this year, the majority by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally. Cluster bombs and rockets have turned our farms into minefields and river banks where children should be free to play into a no man’s land.

With your generous support, the White Helmets respond quickly to every attack to rescue the injured and save lives. Afterwards, our UXO awareness teams go into camps and schools near the bombing to teach people to stay away from the remnants of war that litter our land, which will later be destroyed by our teams. Having women volunteers is so important as we now reach more women in society, alongside their families and crucially children. We also help to survey land and cordon off dangerous areas.

UXO removal is one of the most dangerous jobs at The White Helmets, but knowing that I am part of a team that saves lives helps me overcome my fears. Despite all the risks we face, whether in unexploded ordnance removal or elsewhere, I am honored to be part of an organization that gives people new hope despite all our years of suffering and war.

White Helmets volunteers giving a UXO awareness presentation to a group of students

Northwest Syria lacks almost all of society’s basic services and the White Helmets are stepping up where international actors fail us time and again. During these hot summer months, the medical needs of elderly residents and children in displacement camps are rising and we’ve doubled our services to ease their suffering.

Thanks to your donations to the White Helmets, our volunteers have provided tens of thousands of ambulance services this year, conducted over 700 firefighting operations and we are working hard to repair infrastructure destroyed by bombing. The women volunteers have provided 55,000 consultations to families across 33 women’s centers – with first aid, immunization campaigns and medical advice.

Your generous support is helping the families of volunteers who tragically died doing this life-saving work. 296 families receive $600 each per quarter, and in 2021, donations from supporters like you helped 233 volunteers receive medical treatment for issues ranging from field injuries and urgent surgeries, to cancer treatment and prosthetics.

We all do this stressful work while worrying about our own families’ safety, but our mission to save lives and to keep hope alive for our neighbors who have been abandoned by everyone else sustains us. Knowing that we have the support of individuals like you around the world motivates us greatly even on our most difficult days.

With hope,

Nermin Al-Hassan

PS – If you can, please consider starting a monthly donation to help The White Helmets reach even more people in northwest Syria with life-saving services.

Donate to The White Helmets

Source: Email newsletter from The Syria Campaign, an independent advocacy group campaigning for a peaceful and democratic future for Syria. I just donated $25 to them via PayPal. It took me less than a minute to do this.

Our Wounds Are Bridges

The threads that bind us from Syria to Ukraine

Ukraine and Syria share histories of struggle; struggles for freedom in the face of terror, violence and authoritarianism.

Together, in the spirit of mutual curiosity and collaboration, we will explore common questions: What are the realities on the ground right now in Syria and Ukraine? What can we learn from each others’ struggles for freedom and justice? What possibilities are there for new international solidarities? What can we do together that we can’t do alone?

Together we heal, we make sense of the world, we build the power to change it. Our shared pain is a portal. Join leading Syrian and Ukrainian thinkers and activists, as we build bridges from our wounds.

Interpretation will be available in Ukrainian, Arabic, and Russian.

Speakers:

Yassin al-Haj Saleh – Syrian writer and former political prisoner. Yassin is the author of several books on Syria, prison, and contemporary Islam. He is the husband of Samira al-Khalil, who was abducted by an armed Islamist group in Douma in December 2013.

Wafa Mustafa – Syrian activist, journalist, and detention-survivor. Mustafa left Syria in 2013, after her father was forcibly disappeared by the regime, and now advocates for those impacted by detention – with a particular focus on young girls and women, and families.

Yuliya Yurchenko is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in Political Economy at the University of Greenwich. She is the author of ‘Ukraine and the Empire of Capital’, and researches the relationships between state, capital, and social relations with a particular focus on Europe and Ukraine.

Taras Bilous – Ukrainian historian and activist with the Social Movement Organisation. Taras is an editor for the Commons: Journal of social critique, covering war and nationalism.

Part of Post-Extractive Futures, organised by: War on Want, Tipping Point, and Junte Gente.

Register for this event here. Thanks to Taras Bilous and Harald Etzbach for the information. ||| TRR


[UPDATE: 5 May 2022]

Last Thursday, hundreds of us gathered online to hear the testimonies and reflections of Yassin, Wafa, Yuliya, and Taras. 

Together, they spoke about the current situations in Syria and Ukraine, the despairing patterns of colonial occupation that bind them together, and the importance of connecting and collaborating in order to bring about justice. 

If you were unable to make it in the end, or you want to watch it again, you can find a link to the recording of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYqsOPEsuN0&t=1s

You can also find a transcription of the event here: https://antidotezine.com/2022/04/15/our-wounds-are-bridges/

Links to essays and interviews that the four speakers referenced during the event can be found here:

Yassin Al-Haj Saleh
‘The Ukranian-Russian-Syrian Triangle’: https://aljumhuriya.net/en/2022/03/25/the-ukrainian-syrian-russian-triangle-and-the-world/
‘The Impossible Revolution’ (book): https://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-impossible-revolution/
‘Letters to Samira’: https://www.aljumhuriya.net/en/content/letters-samira-15

Yuliya Yurchenko
‘Ukraine and the Empire of Capital’(book): https://www.plutobooks.com/author/yuliya-yurchenko/
‘Ukraine and the Dis(integrating) Empire of Capital’ (essay): https://lefteast.org/ukraine-disintegrating-empire-of-capital/

Wafa Ali Mustafa
‘Gone but not forgotten: Syria’s missing persons’: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct3035
‘Wafa Mustafa: the woman fighting to find her father – and all of Syria’s disappeared’: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/14/wafa-mustafa-the-woman-fighting-to-find-her-father-and-all-of-syrias-disappeared

Taras Bilous
‘A Letter to the Western Left from Kyiv’: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/a-letter-to-the-western-left-from-kyiv/
‘The Left in the West must Rethink’ (interview): https://commons.com.ua/en/left-west-must-rethink/

Source: Excerpts from an email from Post-Extractive Futures, 21 April 2022

A Message of Solidarity with Ukraine from the White Helmets in Syria

This is a message of solidarity with Ukraine from Raed Al Saleh, the head of The White Helmets humanitarian volunteers. Today, on the 11th anniversary of the Syrian revolution, it drives home why a democratic Syria – free from dictatorship and tyranny – is part of a global cause that must prevail.

[…]

As Ukrainians come under brutal attack by Putin, it is chilling to see Russia using the same strategy and playbook in Ukraine as they use in Syria – attacking fleeing civilians, controlling humanitarian corridors, bombing hospitals and spreading disinformation.

Our volunteer first responders have saved more than 125,000 civilian lives in Syria since 2014, many from direct Russian attacks, and it’s heartbreaking to witness the same tragedies being repeated over and over again. We know the scale of horror that Russian bombings can inflict: no one and nothing is off limits.

In Syria, a concerted Russian disinformation campaign spreads fabricated claims attacking White Helmets volunteers to cover up war crimes. Now Russia is using the same methods to legitimize its attack on the Ukrainian people – using social media to sow doubt about atrocities committed against civilians.

When I saw the aftermath of Russian airstrikes on the maternity hospital in Mariupol last week, including Russia’s immediate disinformation efforts online, it was as if history was repeating itself.

We have witnessed these same horrific scenes and lies during attacks on Syrian hospitals. It angers me to see companies such as Twitter continue to allow accounts to spread falsehoods – and I urge you to join me in calling on Twitter to shut down all accounts, including Russian government accounts, being used to spread harmful disinformation.

A few days ago I spoke to the Washington Post and shared what we have learnt from our experience in case it can be of any help to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. I told them that the GoPro camera is the best way to fight Russian disinformation and report the reality on the ground.

A White Helmets volunteer in Aleppo carries an injured child after an airstrike. Beha el Halebi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/NPR

I also warned against sharing GPS locations of medical facilities with the United Nations. In Syria the Russians used that information to target hospitals. Ukrainians should also establish small medical and civil defense outposts in secret locations around the city to take the pressure off larger hospitals and mitigate the risk of targeting first responders.

There is no doubt Putin has been emboldened by the impunity he enjoyed in Syria. If Putin is not held accountable for his invasion of Ukraine the whole story will repeat itself again.

Today, we need actions not words from the international community. They must pursue justice relentlessly so no dictator can feel able to shamelessly commit such atrocities.

For the last seven years, the Syrian people have stood up to Russia and have yet to be defeated – so we believe Ukrainians can do so as well. At the end of the day, it is the will of the citizens that is the strongest weapon, even against the mightiest militaries in the world.

In solidarity,

Raed Al Saleh

Source: Email newsletter from The Syria Campaign, 15 March 2022. I inserted the Netflix documentary and the photo of the White Helmets volunteer in Aleppo, as well as the links to the articles by the Washington Post and the Intercept about the organization. ||| TRR

Bad Memories, Unpopular Opinions, Wacky Icons

September 8, 2018
I don’t care what they call themselves or what names they are called — liberals, intellectuals, anarchists, communists, socialists, plain old good people — but given the utter silencing of the topic of Syria in the provisionally anti-Putin grassroots and political discourse in Russia, it is difficult to see these various democratic and progressive forces as a force per se, and even more so as a force for good and renewal. The full picture of what is happening nowadays includes the bombing of Idlib, and not only the beloved “social agenda” vis-a-vis the unpopular pension reform, if only because the regime has had to find the money for the bombs, missiles and planes in people’s pockets. But everyone keeps their lips sealed, not realizing that cowardice on this occasion is read as cowardice on all occasions among “the common folk” that they are perpetually trying to save.

September 8, 2017
“However, his new position as head of the local police will not bring the main character the peace for whose sake he pursued it. After the opening of an oil refinery, the city is plunged into the chaos of crime. Attempts to deal with the oil company lead to disastrous consequences for his entire family. The tragedy forces the hero to compromise his principles and set out on the path of revenge.”

September 8, 2016
From the annals of Russian pollocracy, which I’ve decided to redub poleaxeocracy.

File this one under “aiding and comforting the enemy.”

Stalin was “quite popular,” too. God only knows how that ended up.

In any case, “being popular” and “good governance” are two entirely different things.

It’s strange how much capital of all kinds has been spent over the past 17 years to convince the Russian people and everyone else this isn’t the case.

So if US researchers really were wasting their time trying to figure out whether Putin is “in fact popular,” this only goes to show . . .

What? That either the researchers have fallen for this stupidity or they think Russians are degenerate morons.

There are no circumstances under which you can objectively determine whether Putin is “in fact popular,” because the question itself is irrelevant.

It’s like asking people whether they think Michael Corleone is “really handsome.”

Michael Corleone’s job is not “being handsome.” It’s running the Corleone mob.

Greg Yudin
September 8, 2016
A wonderful story. I have just been sent confirmation of my text yesterday about the Levada Center of a sort that I couldn’t have hoped for.

If you remember, the Justice Ministry has been hassling the Levada Center over a study conducted jointly with the University of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is somehow supported by the Pentagon, and from this it follows that Pentagon money directly lands in the pocket of the Levadovites, who in return report secrets about Russian public opinion. We won’t bother discussing this paranoia, so let’s move on.

The joint project with Wisconsin most likely refers to the research that Scott Gelbach from Wisconsin did with the Levada Center’s involvement. A colleague sent me an article on this research that has just been published. Actually, the goal of Gelbach, Timothy Frye from Columbia University and their team was to find out “Is Putin’s popularity real?” (as their article is entitled). They needed the Levada Center as a partner for conducting an “experiment” as part of a public opinion poll. In this experiment, they wanted to rule out the “fear factor” on the part of the respondents. (I’ll be writing a separate post about the “experiment.”) As a result of the experiment, it transpired that “Putin is in fact quite popular.” Moreover, they claim that, in reality, Putin’s ratings, per their experiment, may even be somewhat underestimated due to “artificial deflation.”

Once again, read these lines: the authorities want to shut down the Levada Center because of a study that claims that Putin is “in fact” even more popular than people think!

And not just claims, but informs the whole world about it in perfect English. I wonder if the Anti-Maidan movement knows about this?

September 8, 2016
“So begins a yearlong series of plays chronicling Russian leaders.”

Enough already. I’d like to hear a play or program about the history of Portugal or Mali or Ecuador or Malaysia.

BBC Radio 4 and all the other high-tone media outlets in the so-called western world have so-called Russian history and culture coming out of their ears and noses.

This only works to the advantage of the Putinists, because, almost without exception, these various “serious” entertainments and furrowed-brow documentaries and exposés simply reinforce the tired home truths (i.e., lies) about Russia’s history and present that the regime itself is fond of shoving down everyone’s throats. Not to mention the fact that getting so much attention satisfies the vanity of the Russian powers that be.

But really, there is a big, big world out there we’d like to hear about more often. A world without Putin and “Russia.”

September 8, 2015
Over-the-top late-Soviet “ritual” lacquered panels, commissioned by the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism in Leningrad in the early nineteen-eighties, and brilliantly and flawlessly executed by a group of six “retooled” icon painters from the village of Mstyora, near Suzdal, a place famed for its distinctive school of icon and lacquered box painting.

Although the panels were officially commissioned, they have not been exhibited until now, apparently. Head to the revamped Museum of the History of Religion (nowadays, sans the atheism) in downtown Petersburg to check them out.

Photos by Comrade Koganzon. Translated, where necessary, by the Russian Reader

Solo Picket: At Home Edition (Darya Apahonchich)

I’m in self-isolation, but if I could . . .

. . . I would go out on a solo picket and make these demands.

Urgently take measures to stop domestic violence.

Release political prisoners immediately.

Give financial assistance to everyone who has lost their source of livelihood due to the virus.

Announce an amnesty for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Stop fighting wars and supporting dictatorial regimes.

Or buzz off.

Translated by the Russian Reader. See more by and about Darya Apahonchich here. And check out my coronavirus coverage while you’re at it.

darya

Russia’s War on “Terrorists” and “Extremists” in Crimea and Syria

filatovPersecuted Crimean Jehovah’s Witness Sergei Filatov faces seven years in prison for “extremism.” Photo courtesy of Grati

Prosecutor Requests Seven Years in High-Security Prison for Jehovah’s Witness in Crimea
OVD Info
February 25, 2020

During closing arguments in the trial of local resident Sergei Filatov, who organized meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the prosecutor asked the Dzhankoy District Court to sentence Filatov to seven years in a high-security penal colony, according to the online publication Grati, which cited Filatov himself as its source.

Filatov, who is currently free on his own recognizance, is accused of “organizing the activities of an extremist organization,” punishable under Article 282.2.1 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code. According to investigators, Filatov, as the head of a religious organization, “undermined the foundations of the constitutional system and the security of the state.” The case files include an audio recording, made by local FSB field officer Vladislav Stradetsky, in which Filatov and other believers can be heard discussing religious topics.

The prosecution claims that Filatov is a co-organizer of a Jehovah’s Witness organization called Sivash, which held gatherings and religious lectures at the defendant’s registered domicile.

The only witness at the previous hearings in Filatov’s trial was a man named Verbitsky, a computer science teacher at a rural school. In September 2019, he testified that he had gone to Jehovah’s Witness gatherings right up until the organization was banned in April 2017, and therefore was unaware of Filatov’s further actions. In November 2019, however, he changed his testimony, saying he had continued attending meetings of believers for another six months or so.

Verbitsky claimed the defendant was intimidating him, so the judge honored his request to hold the hearings in closed chambers. The website Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reports that the “intimidation” in question was phone calls from strangers. The defense made several requests to hold the trial in open chambers, but to no avail.

Filatov has four children, two of whom are minors. He considers the trial biased,  and the whole case an instance of religious persecution.

“The prosecutor asked the judge to sentence me to seven years for extremist activity—seven years for religious convictions, for believing in God. There was no crime, no culpability. 1951 and 1937 are coming back. They happened in Russia and here [in Crimea]: there are people among us today who were persecuted and sent into exile. This is tyranny and genocide,” Grati reports Filatov as saying after the trial.

In November 2018, the security forces raided a number of homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Dzhankoy. Searches were conducted at several dozen addresses, but only Filatov was detained, allegedly because police found extremist literature and manuals on psychology and recruiting in his home.

On April 20, 2017, the Russian Supreme Court declared the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia an “extremist organization,” disbanded it, and prohibited it from operating in Russia. In August 2017, all Jehovah’s Witness organizations were placed on the official list of banned organizations, sparking a subsequent wave of criminal cases against members of the confession.

Translated by the Russian Reader

_______________________

Putin: Our Forces Stopped a Serious Threat to Russia in Syria
Asharq Al-Aswat
February 24, 2020

President Vladimir Putin has revealed a decisive Russian military attack last week to prevent Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions from advancing towards Neirab city.

The Russian military has rooted out well-equipped terrorist groups in Syria and prevented major threats to Russia, Putin said at a gala on Defender of the Fatherland Day.

The attack was followed by intense airstrikes on militant sites in Idlib province.

Putin’s statements came in line with accusations launched by the Kremlin against Turkey on its violation of the Sochi Agreement.

According to Russian sources, the military sought to prevent Ankara from trying to impose a new fait accompli by controlling sites that have been recently occupied by the regime.

Russia “will not allow the return of the previous situation, when Idlib province and its surrounding areas were under the control of Syrian factions,” the sources added.

Putin, however, revealed on Sunday another aim for his country’s intervention in Syria.

Russia’s officers and soldiers have confidently confirmed their high professionalism and combat capabilities, the strength of spirit and their best qualities during the military operation in Syria, he said.

“They have wiped out large and well-equipped terrorist groups, thwarted major threats for our motherland at distant frontiers, and helped the Syrians save the sovereignty of their country,” he stressed, thanking all soldiers who have participated in the fight in Syria.

Putin’s remarks highlighted information circulated on Ankara supplying the Syrian factions with US mobile anti-air systems, which enabled them to shoot down two Syrian army helicopters last week.

The Ministry of Defense said these weapons could be used against Russian forces, slamming Ankara and Washington.

It said both sides “cannot predict how and when the terrorists will use these weapons.”

Putin affirmed Moscow’s intention to continue to enhance its military capabilities and provide its armed forces with the most advanced arms, including laser weapons, hypersonic systems and high-precision systems.

Blame It on the Weather

kinderworld

Ask yourself who in their right mind and good conscience would want to cut off humanitarian aid and medical assistance to over one million people while simultaneously bombing them at will. Then ask yourself why these acts of homicidal aggression against innocent people have provoked almost no reaction either among the citizens of the country perpetrating them or among this country’s numerous well-wishers around the world.

I’ve asked myself these questions almost every day for the last four and a half years and, occasionally, I’ve asked you the same questions. I’m still waiting for answers, especially from the numerous citizens of the country aiding, abetting and perpetrating this massacre who, I am quite certain by now, watch me like a hawk on this infernal machine, and this country’s equally numerous well-wishers, who blame everything it does on history, other countries or the weather. \\ The Russian Reader

___________________

Russia scored a victory for its close ally Syria on Friday, using its veto threat to force the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution significantly reducing the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid and cutting off critical medical assistance to over one million Syrians in the northeast.

___________________


Lindsey Smith

Facebook
January 10, 2020

“What we saw today was horrible” ~ Nour.

Severe storms devastated our community partnership camp leaving a flooded disaster much more help is needed.

Updates:
* ALL tents re-enforced with wood and canvas
* Oil provided for all families for entire winter
* We have funds to provide jackets for all 91 children 0-18 years old. (Distribution planned 1/15)
* 64 Adults still in need of jackets. $25 each.
* Urgent priority need of gravel. $450 to make paths, $640 more to ideally cover entire camp

Fortunately our newly re-enforced tents withstood but could not prevent the ground from flooding and sewage to come into the camp. We’ve been asked to help provide gravel to absorb the damage. $450 will provide 45 tons of gravel to at least provide paths between tents. For $640 more, we can provide 135 tons which is needed to cover the entire camp. We will do what we can with what emergency funds we can pull together.

🙏🏻 Please share!

Designate KINDER WORLD in drop box option.

___________________

Kinder World
With love from Minnesota

The Project

Kinder World is a project that aims to create a sustainable support model for Syrian families seeking refuge through community partnership and solidarity.

Through the creation of this network, we will directly address the needs identified by camp residents and assist with solutions that empower the community.

Projects may include telemedicine services, medical and dental care, psychosocial support, nutrition, sustainable farming, education, language skills, parenting support, childcare, individual skill-building, team development through athletics, winterization, and access to clean water.

Minnesota Takes the Lead in Rethinking Aid

Minnesota and a settlement of 155 Syrians seeking refuge in Northern Lebanon are the first communities to partner using the Kinder World model. Our partner community in Northern Lebanon has identified their most prominent needs including winterization, clean water and proper sanitation, education for the children, and medical care.

We hope that the success of our project will inspire other communities to get involved and our outreach to Syrian families seeking refuge will continue to grow. Although our partnership US community is based in Minnesota, all are welcomed to get involved! All skills and all support are valuable.

Please contact us at kinderworldminnesota@gmail.com if you would like to be added to our email list for updates and opportunities to get involved!

Urgent Appeal for Winterization

Kinder World Minnesota Phase 1

Our partner community’s tents are dilapidated and won’t withstand the winter. This will result in flooding, damaging of their belongings, and illnesses from cold exposure. They need canvas and wood to rebuild their tents. Our community has also identified the great need for warm jackets and oil. They do not have proper attire for winter or the oil needed to keep their families warm.

Donate

For just $300, an average family size of 6-7 can be provided with:

– Warm jackets

– Wood and the heavy canvas needed to rebuild their family’s home

– Oil for heating

Select a one-time donation to support our community’s winterization.

You can also choose to select monthly recurring donations to continue to support Kinder World Minnesota and its ongoing projects.

Any amount helps! Click the donate button below and select “Kinder World” as the designation or include it in the comments!

Project Updates

Phase one is well underway in Lebanon as winter weather sets in.

Thanks to our partner community, new wood and canvas have been delivered for residents to reinforce their shelters for the winter weather and each family has received oil to heat their homes.

We would also like to extend a sincere thanks to our community leaders and our in-country coordinators who have made all of this possible in spite of difficult political and logistical circumstances in the country at the moment.

We hope to continue to work together to raise more funds to purchase the camp winter jackets and to move into the next phase of the project: sanitation.

About Us
In-Sight Collaborative is a registered 501(c)3 organization made up of a network of advocates with a shared vision for the improvement of the way we deliver humanitarian aid. Through partnerships and solidarity, we believe in promoting the empowerment of displaced populations and fostering self-sustaining growth through periods of adversity by supporting emergency interventions and long-term projects that aim to preserve dignity and independence while cultivating community. With nearly 70.8 million people displaced globally according to UNHCR due to factors such as conflict, natural disasters, and climate change, we recognize that modern displacement requires modern solutions.

Thanks to Ed Sutton for the heads-up. Images courtesy of Lindsey Smith and Kinder World. Read this article to find out fourteen more ways you can help Syrian refugees. \\ TRR

 

Picketing in Petersburg for the People of Idlib

idlib 5

Movement of Conscientious Objectors (DSO)
Jan 8, 2020
vk.com

“Done!” An Anti-War Picket on Christmas

Members of the Movement of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service held solo pickets on the evening of January 7 outside the headquarters of the Western Military District on Palace Square in Saint Petersburg. The decision to hold an anti-war picket demanding an end to the bombing of people in the Syrian province of Idlib was prompted by a series of articles in Novaya Gazeta about the actions of the Russian military.

idlib 1

Clockwise from upper left-hand corner: “Bombs don’t solve anything!” “Stop bombing for peace!” “Don’t serve war! Don’t join the army!” “Idlib needs medical care, food, and shelter—not bombs!”

We chatted online with Amir al Muarri, a musician from Idlib, and went out to picket on [Russian Orthodox] Christmas day.

As can be clearly heard in a recording of communications between Russian pilots and headquarters, they say, “Package received. Adjusting course. Counting down. Jackpot.”

They then release a missile that brings death, blood, and destruction to people.

After the missile has hit the target, a pilot reports, “Done.”

idlib 2

“Idlib! We are against bombing. I’m ashamed of my country.”

It is a pity we did not think to write these words in Arabic, only in English.

Read more about the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib in Novaya Gazeta.

idlib 3

As practice has shown, there are always people who start writing comments like “Where is the evidence?” I would like to reply, Do you see microbes? No. Then how do you know they exist? You believe scientists who have studied this question and shaped scientific opinion. It is the same with many other questions. I don’t claim to have researched all the questions in the world by myself. On this particular issue, I trust the journalists at Novaya Gazeta, in particular, Elena Milashina, who has studied the subject and authored a number of articles on it.

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As for remarks that the American military is also bombing and killing people, I would reply that a pacifist’s uppermost concern should be criticizing the policy of war waged in the name of his or her country.

Otherwise, it is like the old Soviet joke. “We can also go out onto Red Square, shout that the US president is a fool, and get away with it scot-free.”

Or it is like in the famous song by Alexander Galich in which the narrator reads out a prepared speech written for a woman whom he urgently had to replace: “The whole world knows the Israeli warmongers. / I say, as a woman and a mother, / They must be brought to justice.”

Thanks to Comrade Koganzon for the heads-up. Photos courtesy of the Movement of Conscientious Objectors (DSO). Translated by the Russian Reader