April 3, 2017

Er, because books don’t explode and kill Syrian children


Just yesterday, the New York Times’ Russell Goldman reported that the Syrian civil war has resulted in a quarter of that country’s population fleeing. Those that remain live under the constant threat of attack. It’s war — brutal, destructive, and devastating.

The continued violence only furthers the decimation of Syria’s already crippled infrastructure, with the horrifying consequence that innocent children can’t get the things they need to survive. The NGO Humanium estimates that over eight million Syrian children are in need of humanitarian aid. A quarter of them live in areas inaccessible to aid workers.

I say all that because the facts of the Syrian crisis can’t be repeated enough.

I also say it because there are people out there (a lot of them) offering as much relief as they can. As Antonia Blumberg reports in the Huffington Post, a coalition of students from nearly 200 US campuses is working to convince university administrations to offer scholarships to Syrian youths. The Books Not Bombs mission statement speaks for itself:

…This campaign aims to push universities to offer scholarships to Syrian students and joints n the IIE Syria Consortium, enabling Syrian students to receive a safe and quality education. It’s the most practical and effective thing universities can do to respond to what the United Nations has declared ‘the greatest humanitarian emergency of our time.’

Because of the crisis, over 200,000 students are already known to be in limbo, losing access to support back home, afraid to return, enrolled in or graduates of schools that may no longer exist. So far, the organization has developed a $20,000 emergency fund for students impacted by Trump’s travel ban, and their awareness campaigns urging university administrations to provide relief are gaining traction.



Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.