This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Karina Pandya. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Justice Is Not A Syrian Luxury. It’s The World’s Responsibility!

More from Karina Pandya

Was it just the anti-regime graffiti painted on walls that served as a catalyst for the Syrian War in 2011? Was it the public protests that began in Daraa, the cradle of the revolution where 15 boys from prominent families began painting graffiti with anti-government slogans that sparked the beginning of the Syrian Uprising of 2011?     

Authoritarianism, unemployment, government corruption were some of the main motives behind the Syrian War to make Bashar al-Assad resign, and have democratic reforms, a regime change, expand civil rights and ensure equality for the Kurds.

A war, which has gone on longer than World War II, the Syrian War is one of the most complicated and bloodiest conflicts in the world. Shattering the lives of hundreds and thousands of Syrians, destroying cities, straining global politics, spurring diplomatic efforts; the Syrian crisis has been ongoing since the past eight years and five months. But for what?  

Bordering Turkey, Jordon, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, Syria is a land with both deserts and fertile areas. Known to be a unitary republic (state governed as a single power), Syria has been facing a multi-faceted armed conflict within the country. This war is being fought among several factions: the Syrian Government, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a loose alliance of Syrian-Arab rebel forces and Salafi jihadist groups (inclusive of al-Nusra Front) who co-operate with rebels and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL or ISIS.     

Causing millions of Syrians to leave their homeland and move to other countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordon as refugees, these people are facing one of the most disturbing rates of displacement. Over 2 million people have fled to these countries, while more than 4 million are internal refugees remaining in Syria. 

Where have all the Syrian refugees gone? Image source: wikimedia.org

Worse than this is the psychological and emotional trauma that individuals have to go through, which cannot be ignored!  While physical ‘homes’ are lost, trust in humanity is forgotten, and the cruelty that every man is against every man is realised! The mental trauma that every individual has to go through as they are forced to flee from their home!

The situation in Syria is chaotic and horrific, to say the least. World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that at least 35% of the country’s hospitals are out of service and displaced refugees are posing a severe risk to countries to which they have fled.    

Who do they turn to? Can they even turn to anyone? Is there any hope for them?

Image source: flickr.com

Imagine if you were living in an authoritative dictatorship where your freedom did not even matter!

Drought, long-festering religious tensions and foreign meddling have tragically splintered Syria into a country perpetuated by informal fighting, border clashes, limited ceasefires. The perceived weakness of Syrian statehood and disorder of the Syrian political life led to the first Assad regime, which was established in 1970 by Hafez-al-Assad, the father of the current leader!

Al Assad family. Image source: wikipedia.org

This is where it all began, and this is how we have reached the situation in today’s Syria!  

The al-Assad family has been ruling Syria since 1971 when Hafez al-Assad established an authoritarian government under the control of the Ba’ath party. The Assads, originally from Qandahar, a village in northwest Syria overlooking the town of Latakia,  has been in control of Syria ever since the time they have power.   

Homs, a city in Syria. Before the war (left). After the war (right).
On July 19, 2012, the Syrian Civil War made Aleppo, the country’s largest city, its battlefield. Barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, killing thousands.

Chemical weapons attacking hundreds of children and other civilians, and for what? Syria’s housing and most of its infrastructure have been destroyed along with the destruction of educational and medical facilities, relentless bloodshed and imprisonment because of pro-democracy uprisings known as Arab Spring. Is this fair? Is this the world that they or anyone else deserve? The public anger, growing chaos and constant uncertainty about tomorrow; can there ever be a full stop to this grave political issue taking place in the Middle East without affecting the entire world?    

“All now stand in ruins, ravaged by a war that is not only killing generations of Syrians but also eradicating all around them, including sites that have stood since the dawn of civilization. Across Syria, where a seemingly unstoppable war is about to enter a third year, a heritage built over 5,000 years or more is being steadily buried under rubble.”

 –An article from The Guardian

Featured Image source: wikimedia.org
You must be to comment.

More from Karina Pandya

Similar Posts

By Aniruddha Bose

By Aweeza Akhtar

By Nitij Rao

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below