What if Syria’s civil war happened in London?

It starts with a joyful birthday celebration. Short clips show a young girl as plays a recorder, rides a bike and kisses a boy. She goes about her happy life as news programs and publications speak of clashes in the UK. Things start to look worse, but a detonation behind her turns the happy story into one of chaos. As the girl and her family run she ends up at a camp, where she celebrates a somber birthday, staring at the camera and to the audience.

The new video comes from Save the Children UK. It imagines the affect of a conflict like the civil war in Syria on a British girl. Life goes from childhood whims to the horrors of war. The video ends with the message:

“Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”

The video hopes to make a personal connection to the ongoing fighting in Syria. Many of the families that have been displaced by the fighting are not all that different than the young girl’s. Syria was a country that was doing relatively well and had a vibrant middle class. More importantly, the video wants to convey that distance should not prevent people from taking action by speaking up on the crisis.

A day after its release, the video has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube.

The video follows up on a declaration by Save, UNICEF, World Vision and others to call attention to the the plight suffered by children affected by the Syrian civil war. The groups plea for support to ‘prevent a lost generation’ due to the impact on some 5.5 million children. Their call sets out the following demands:

  • An end to the violence against the children of Syria. All those involved in the fighting must fully respect humanitarian law, end the recruitment of children, and commit to a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
  • An end to blocking of humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian organizations must be allowed to safely reach all those who are suffering.
  • An end to attacks on humanitarian workers and facilities – especially schools and hospitals.
  • A renewed commitment to reconciliation and tolerance – led by all communities affected by the conflict, involving children and young people.
  • More investment in the education and psychological protection of all children affected by the conflict. Children need help to recover from the traumas they have faced and acquire the skills they will need to help rebuild their country and strengthen the stability of the region.

“Millions of children inside Syria and across the region are witnessing their past and their futures disappear amidst the rubble and destruction of this prolonged conflict. We must rescue them from the brink, for their sake and for the sake of Syria in future generations,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.