What do students really need to know about Syria? Here are 4 key ideas that can help kids go beyond the latest headlines:
1. Syria isn’t just a war on a map. For thousands of years, Syria has been a place where human beings lived, laughed, created art, studied, and loved. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, located between Lebanon and Turkey, and a bit bigger than the American state of Pennsylvania, the country of Syria also contains several ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites that used to attract tourists from all over the world. Then in 2011, a series of factors ignited a civil war:
2. Yet in the past 7 years, almost 500,000 Syrians have died — and millions more men, women, and children have fled into the unknown. What would you do if a bomb destroyed your home and you lost everything? Where would you go for safety, if you had to leave your country? Many individuals have faced these questions because of the ongoing conflict. In this video, a young Syrian named Mohammed Alsaleh describes what happened after he fled violence and imprisonment by the Assad regime. Mohammed now lives in Canada, where he counsels newly arrived Syrian refugee families:
3. Beyond the borders of Syria, humanity is currently facing the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Conflict — particularly in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeast Nigeria — has led to famine. About 60 million people around the globe have been forced to leave their homes to escape war, violence, and persecution. Some of them have been granted asylum in other countries, including the US. This TED-Ed Lesson explains what the term ‘refugee’ really means:
4. Future history books will record how today’s leaders reacted to these preventable tragedies in 2017, but only you can choose what you do next. Here’s one way that an individual responded to world news. Here’s another way that someone took action. What will your response be?