In the Monday Good News segment, we as the editors of Loud and Alive try to find something good that’s been happening in the world, and we write about it. There’s something very important about finding the good in the bad; about accepting the wins before continuing to fight against the losses, and that’s what I’ve decided to cover here.
This week, I’m going to talk about a neutral group within the Syria conflict, that saves people no matter which side they’re on.
There is a lot to say about the White Helmets of Aleppo, and over the time that I’ve been researching them, I’ve only found more and more reasons to admire and want to write about them.
Unfortunately, there’s much bad amongst the good, especially in very recent news. However, today is a day for celebrating, so we’re going to focus on their recent victory.
The White Helmets are a voluntary Syrian aid group, assisting the civilian victims of Syria’s civil war. They’re also known as the Syria Civil Defence (SCD), and have stated that their mission is “to save the greatest number of lives in the shortest possible time and to minimise further injury to people and damage to property.”
No matter where you stand on the Syrian war, you have to admire that.
The SCD is made up of around 3,000 volunteers who dedicate their time to the other civilians in their country. They’re bakers, tailors, carpenters, electricians and more, and yet they’ve untaken this massive responsibility to keep their people safe – an admirable goal that so far they have done very well with. The SCD claims to have saved approximately 60,000 lives and counting.
It’s no wonder that they were named as one of the winners of what is known as “the alternative Nobel prize”.
It was announced on Thursday (22nd September, 2016) that they had won the award by the Stockholm-based Right Livelihood Award Foundation.
This is the first time a winner of the award has been from Syria, and they deserve it.
The White Helmets rescue civilians from bombed houses, fight fires and offer first aid, often at great personal risk, the jury said. The group won $88,000 alongside the other three winners:
Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannaushkina is the founder of the Civic Assistance Committee that offers legal aid and education to migrants and refugees. The Turkish daily newspaper, Cumhuriyet, which has been at the forefront of Turkey’s struggle for a free press, and Egyptian feminist activist Mozn Hassan and the Nazra for Feminist Studies organisation, which promotes gender equality and rights for women.
All of these groups absolutely deserve their award, and Ole von Uexkull said of them: “We do not only celebrate their courage, compassion and commitment; we also celebrate the success of their work, against all odds, and the real difference they are making in the world today.”
Which is true: these groups are facing adversity, danger and, sometimes, their own governments, but continue to fight anyway, as they know what’s right.
And despite the recent news of the bombing on the White Helmet facilities, we know that they are going to stand up, dust themselves off, and continue to do what they must, what they can – because that’s who they are.