Syrian issues may no longer be front-page news, but the Syrian-Canadian community wants Canadians to know the agony is continuing in Syria and its people need help more than ever.
“We hope that together the Syrian community and the Canadian community know there is still a revolution happening in Syria,” said Majed Azrak, an organizer of a commemoration ceremony at Burnhamthorpe Community Centre on March 15. “People over there are still in need of help,”
The ceremony marked the third anniversary of the uprising.
Before the ceremony, participants paid tribute to Ali Mustafa, the Canadian photojournalist who lost his life in a government bomb attack on March 9 while documenting the conflicts in Syria.
The commemoration screened three documentaries about the Syrian Revolution and heard five guest speakers.
Activisit Belal Sibai from the Homs League Abroad talked about the recently built centre supported by the organization in Lebanon to accommodate widows and orphans from the war and called for more participation from within the Canadian society.
Dr. Anas al-Kassem, a Canadian doctor of Syrian origin who has been travelling back and forth to help Syrian people set up field hospitals, said support and donation from Canada is very important when reaching out providing help to the Syrian people.
Photojournalist Brad Catlaugh shared his experience photographing refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. He spent four months documenting lives of refugees and the growing frustrations the refugees are confronting with.
Lawyer Henri Lowi talked about the importance of all communities regardless borders, religions or heritages should pay attention to the ongoing agony in Syrian and build up international solidarity.
Maher Azem from the Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO), who co-organized this ceremony, presented the projects the organization has done for supporting Syrian people.
“For me, (what’s more dreadful) is what’s next,” Mona Naser, MC of the event, said. “The country is destroyed and we still couldn’t get rid of the regime…. You can’t see an end to that.”
She said it is really sad to think people are struggling in Syria and no one is helping them.
“I hope we could reach out to the Canadian public, not only the Syrian Canadian or Middle Eastern Canadian, but also to the general public, to demonstrate the agony of Syrian people, as well as the righteousness of the calls (for freedom) themselves,” SEO volunteer Dherar Rezk said.