The idea for Leeds for Syria came about on the 2nd of December while I was working on the bar at Brudenell Social Club. We were taking our usual 15 minute breather- where the bar staff congregate to discuss the ills of the world and wait for the debauchery of the evening to die down before launching our nightly clean up operation. I remember the date specifically because the mood was unusually sombre and the worlds ills felt particularly numerous.
We sat on our usual bench around the side of the venue which vibrated at irregular intervals as we received constant BBC updates on the news at hand. MP’s had just passed a motion authorising air strikes against IS in Syria and thrown us into yet another Middle Eastern conflict. The talk was stunted, less animated than usual and a disappointed yet wholly unsurpised emotional atmosphere was palpable. We felt like the government’s decision to intervene militarily had snook up on us- another action to which we were tied by nationality, yet had no willing part in.
It made us feel totally impotent and apathetic. The British public as a whole hadn’t motioned to go to war and risk the lives of more innocent Syrian citizens for a military move that seemed largely motivated by vengeance. Yet here we were, thrown into conflict with seemingly nothing we could do about it. In that moment I resolved to find something I could do- some way to help those already in need and those who soon would be as more innocent people were forced to flee from a dangerous country, no longer fit to be called home.
Our little creative event will have a positive impact, no matter how small and go some way towards counteracting the damage that’s already been done. The money we raise will bandage some of the wounds caused by the civil war in Syria. It won’t stop the conflict or give people back their homes but it will help people keep fighting for a better life. It will show refugees that there are people who care about them and it will show the world that we can create an atmosphere of support for people in desperate need.