The situation in Aleppo/Syria has worsened infinitely in the last few days. What was already a war-torn city, has now become what looks like a site of genocide. The vlogs that have been posted on Twitter, could not be any more urgent and haunting. There seems to be a seize fire in place since midnight, but nonetheless, the effects of the war, on all, but especially on the children, are already horrific, as this BBC video call with aid worker Annie Sparrow points out. (Watch until the end!)
— Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane) December 14, 2016
I was wondering yesterday in despair – what can we do, can we sit back and just watch it happen? To me, Syria is not as far away as it once was. That is due to a young Syrian refugee who has been taken in by a family in my mother’s immediate neighbourhood. I met the 16-year-old boy on my last trip home in October. In Germany for about 15 months, the teenager already speaks fluent German, attends a vocational school and has distinguished himself in his work-placements as a conscientious, hard-working apprentice. He is polite and helpful, articulate and very intelligent, eager to learn. Also a devout Muslim, but by no means hostile to his environment. He writes poetry. His family has been torn apart – by the war and by tragedy (his younger brother was killed in road accident just a few weeks ago. He cannot leave Germany to go and comfort his parents.) Today, my mother is baking traditional German Christmas biscuits with him, she informed me on the phone, because he expressed an interest in doing that. Meanwhile, his country is torn to shreds.
As always, our hands as “just” onlookers, are bound. It seems that the resolution the conflict is as far away as ever. At the same time, the humanitarian crisis continues. Maybe I just want to alleviate my guilty conscience – especially at this time of year – but I feel that I need to do something. Donations to charity are the *one* thing we can do, and pretty easily, too. If you are unsure, who to donate to, here are some suggestions.
- Doctors Without Borders/Médicins Sans Frontières
- Syria Relief
- Hand in Hand for Syria
- Save the Children, Syrian Children’s Relief Fund
There are many others out there, of course. I would have loved to put on an impromptu charity auction, but it comes at a bad time – I am already in the midst of my Twelve Days of Christmas project. However, a question directed at me on Twitter by Fernanda, in response to my delight at just having received my *other* New York printed photo book in the post, has put an idea in my head. Fernanda wanted to know where that book is available. It wasn’t available, really, because I had not intended it as a publicly available book. (Because it contains *one* photograph that is not mine; and that photograph unfortunately and in turn contains me *ugh*.) But heck, should there be any interest in the book, I might as well put it into my bookstore on Blurb. And should this photo book generate any sales, then I will donate all the profits to charity. Here’s the book (click image below to see a preview of the *full* book):
(I feel a bit bad – this looks like truly shameless and shameful self-promotion, riding on the back of charity. Believe me, I am not interested in promoting my photography business here. It is not really a business anymore, anyway.) The photo book contains the full loot of my New York images, this time in colour, 66 pages. It is hardcover, standard landscape, 10×8 in (25×20 cm). New York, through my lens: Midtown, The Cloisters, New York Public Library, Empire State at night, Grand Central Station, Washington Square Park, East Village – there even happens to be a page with the Roundabout Theater… No holiday snaps with people (apart from that *one* pic, which I deeply regret now. See if you can spot it in the preview.)
As with my previously shown, B/W New York photo book, the sales metrics on this colour version of my pics are set in such a way that profit on the hardback version is 5 Euro; the pdf version accrues 1.50 Euro. (The rest of the price is made up by the printing costs as charged by Blurb.) If any sales occur, these proceeds will be donated in full to charity. I believe that donations are most effective when concentrating on *one* charity over a longer period of time, so I have settled on Save the Children, Syrian Children’s Relief Fund once again. Unfortunately, on-demand printed books tend to be pricey, so to save you unnecessary clicking, I’ll disclose prices right here and now: The printed version costs $54.08; the pdf $6.66. (My profit margin is slim, as you can see – the printer makes most of the profit in this.) I intend to match the proceeds for a final donation.
Once again, apologies for what may come across as jumping on the bandwagon for my own purposes. That is not my intention. But if there is any chance that I could spread the word and plant the idea and resolve in anyone’s head, to donate to this very urgent and worthy cause through *any channel*, then I would be very happy. It does not matter how much we give – passing on the message or a small contribution are as good as a big donation. We can all do something – according to our own (financial) situation. Thanks!