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Syria: Intervention and Diaspora

Calgary Demonstrators Continue Public Dialogue

by Matt Hanson

Syrian-Canadians Demonstrate at Calgary City Hall (Feb. 28)
Syrian-Canadians Demonstrate at Calgary City Hall (Feb. 28)
Her sign reads, "The Crisis in Syria is caused by terrorist and fundamentalist groups who are using SUICIDE BOMBINGS to target the Syrian People, economy and infrastructure."
Her sign reads, "The Crisis in Syria is caused by terrorist and fundamentalist groups who are using SUICIDE BOMBINGS to target the Syrian People, economy and infrastructure."
The man's signs (right of flag) read, "STOP Recruiting Children" and "We believe in you Dr. Bashar, We Love You Dr. Bashar" & Canadian ally-activist Aaron gives speech
The man's signs (right of flag) read, "STOP Recruiting Children" and "We believe in you Dr. Bashar, We Love You Dr. Bashar" & Canadian ally-activist Aaron gives speech

On July 11, Dr. Jim Whitman, senior lecturer in the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK gave a free lecture at the University of Calgary entitled, "Could we intervene in Syria? Should we?" After exhibiting his especially deliberate thought process, he gave a decided "no" to intervention. On July 15, the International Committee of the Red Cross officially declared Syria in a state of civil war. The nationowide death toll had risen above 20,000. Six months later, on the 12 of February, 2013, the United Nations updated the death toll to over 70,000. 

The February 28 public demonstration at Calgary City Hall was attended mostly by the Syrian community. There were no more than thirty people in attendance by late afternoon when demonstrators dispersed. Aaron, a local activist, and spoken word artist in Calgary, gave a speech at the demonstration, serving as an ally to the Syrian community. He spoke of the ethos of cultural soldiarity in community-building as breathing more life in Nova Scotia, his place of origin, and how he has had to adjust to a culture shock in Calgary, where less people are inclined to show public support and community encouragement in solidarity with such demonstrations. His speech was followed by an elder from the Syrian-Canadian community shouting, "Shame on Canada", after which the demonstrators followed in repetition. "Syrian people have the right to autonomy regardless of the capitalistic interests of the UN," Aaron told the Media Co-op. 

A young Syrian-Canadian woman later concluded the demonstration's speeches. She spoke about how Canada and Syria have closed off all immigration ties, disallowing displaced persons and asylum seekers in war-torn Syria from taking refuge with their familiies in Canada.


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