Send in the White Helmets


“We’ve all heard of the Blue Helmets — the United Nations armed peacekeeping wing. But have you heard about the White Helmets, the unarmed peacekeeping and first responders in Syria?

Seeing organized nonviolence in the midst of violent conflict is not expected and not often found, but it’s on the increase. There are Peace Brigades International, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Muslim Peacemaker Teams, and the White Helmets in Syria.

Hard to believe, yet here they are: an unarmed group of ordinary people: doctors; lawyers, teachers, store owners, you name it, who are most known for running into buildings destroyed by the Assad regime’s barrel bombs and helping people out alive, regardless of religious or political creed. According to one of White Helmet’s team members, Abed, “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.” The youngest person they’ve saved was only two weeks old, and it took them a day to go through the rubble to find him. (He was ok.)

So far, by October 2015, this volunteer, neutral, nonviolent force has saved more than 30,000 lives, and the number is only increasing. It’s not easy work and some have lost their lives. If courage and self-sacrifice are the basic ingredients of nonviolence (and they are), these brave people have it to spare.”

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