Please campaign

21 July 2013

Please is the name of a campaign launched by the Wefaq Initiative of Syria, which exists to unite civil resistance groups in the country. The campaign called on people to hold sit-ins outside United Nations buildings on July 20 in protest of the crimes being committed by the Syrian regime, and in an attempt to pressure the regime’s backers - Russia, China and Iran. For 28 months, the UN has not offered the Syrian people anything more than empty promises, activist Ayman Mohammad said to Syria Untold.

The campaign is based on the idea that activists abroad must remind the world that the Syrian revolution has nonviolent roots, and was not started by extremists. “The revolution was started by Syrians who were marginalized in politics, by intellectuals who sought nonviolent change, and by simple people who were robbed of their freedom and dignity for more than 40 years,” Mohammad said.

Activists prepared brochures to be distributed at the sit-ins, and held signs condemning the stance of the international community in regards to Syria and asking for assistance in breaking the regime’s siege on cities in the country.

What sets Please apart from other similar campaigns is that it was organized by activists inside Syria, not by “opposition groups in exile who have proven their failure and have been unable to offer the Syrian people anything other than words,” Mohammad said.

Syrian activists extended the call for sit-ins to “all free people in the world and civil society and human rights groups,” he added.

“We expect many people to participate,” he said. “We reached out to activists living abroad. They liked the idea, and promised us to hold sit-ins as part of our Please campaign.”

Mohammad responded to claims that sit-ins are ineffective as Syrian blood continues to be spilt. “All Syrians in exile must be the voice of those inside the country. Sit-ins may not mean anything to governments like the Syrian government, but we believe they can have an impact in other areas. We will follow this campaign up with a number of other global campaigns. We will reach out to all facets of society and introduce them to what our revolution is really about.”

The activists are aware of the limitations of their campaign, and are not asking for much. “We want the siege to be broken on besieged cities, and food to be delivered to the families living in the worst possible conditions in these areas,” he added.

“We reached out to the people of Russia, China and Iran, because we know their governments do not represent them, especially in Iran. Iranian media describes our revolution as a war against Shiites and their holy sites, but this could not be further from the truth. It is not a Sunni-Shiite war, and it is not a battle between the majority and the minority.”

He said they worked with people in these three countries who helped translate the group’s statement into their respective languages, and helped share information about the event on Facebook.

Find out more on the Wefaq Initiative’s Facebook page


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad