A bomb went off again…someplace far from where we live. Another family was torn to shreds; another home became a rubble of bricks. Amid all the mayhem a mother called out for help in the Aleppo city of Syria, wailing for her 10-day old child buried in the debris.
Adorning white helmets, some men came in to rescue the new-born as they have done a countless times. With the care of a mother and precision of a surgeon, they delivered the child back to his mother’s embrace.
So, who were these men, risking their lives running across war-torn Syria saving lives?
Called The White Helmets or Syrian Civil Defense, this organization is a group of around 3000 volunteers, whose ordinary citizens achieve extra-ordinary feat every day.
Comprising of brave folks from all walks of life, this organization includes tailors, carpenters, students, painters, bakers and an electronics salesman- Raed Al Saleh as their head.
Bombs rain down on the innocent people of Aleppo (Syria) everyday and the first ones to rush to the site of these bombings are the white helmets. With no military training of any sort their primary agenda is to carry out search-and-rescue missions and save as many lives as possible. “Syrians are killed every day with various kinds of weapons, but the deadliest ones are the barrel bombs because of their indiscriminate nature.”—Raed Al Saleh
The Syrian Civil Defense army was formed in 2013 and with their selfless and tireless efforts; they have saved over 60,000 lives pledging commitment to the principles of “Humanity, Solidarity, Impartiality”. “When I want to save someone’s life I don’t care if he’s an enemy or a friend. What concerns me is the soul that might die.”-Abed, The White Helmets
Their selfless efforts have also won them a very deserving Right to Livelihood Award, commonly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. Along with saving lives they deliver services to nearly 7 million people. From reconnecting electrical cable to providing safety information to children, they are the largest civil society organization operating in areas outside of government control.
In this process of saving lives, 141 men of the White Helmets have lost their lives. Despite the hostile conditions, these men continue being a hope of a millions of Syrians suffering the wrath of war and people in power.
Here’s the trailer of a documentary on these ordinary men, extraordinary heroes- White Helmets
SONAL PALIWAL | TOC
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