I came across the White Helmets three years ago through Dr Scilla Elworthy who is a colleague and friend. I immediately resonated with their work and felt drawn to support them through donations (and roping in family members to do likewise!).
The qualities of selflessness, courage and an instinctive humanity towards all those caught up in the maelstrom that has engulfed present day Syria spoke to me. It serves as a beacon of possibility, but also a rebuke to those who are perpetuating the horrors of daily barrel-bombing innocent citizens.
Their website says,
When the bombs rain down, the White Helmets (also known as the Syria Civil Defence) rush in. In a place where public services no longer function, these humanitarian volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need – regardless of their religion or politics. Known for their distinctive headwear, the rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth and have saved more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
Former bakers, tailors, engineers, pharmacists, painters, carpenters, students and many more professions besides, the White Helmets are volunteers from all walks of life. Many have paid the ultimate price for their compassion – 252 have been killed while saving others.
The White Helmets - Netflix documentary trailer
A day in the life of a White Helmet
Letter from Abu Shaimaa on the work of the White Helmets
It is so hard for us to comprehend how the people ordering such acts, as well as those nations financially supporting it, and those making and loading the bombs, to those of the armed forces who fly the planes and press the button to drop the bombs, can continue to do this knowing they are directly involved in such brutality. But it is our responsibility to understand how human consciousness could make such choices. If we turn away, we will miss the opportunity to lend our consciousness to more elevated alternatives, and to offer our love and heartfelt compassion for those who live through this every day.
Of course, Syria is not the only country affected by such chaos. Last newsletter I wrote about a recent trip to the Middle East. The extremes of both ends of the human spectrum is becoming increasingly visible in this region, as if the battle of light and dark is waging a war for the soul of humanity. And of course we know that this drama of light and dark, alignment and separation is being waged within each one of us every day (and sometimes within each hour). Looking out on the world and its very obvious conflict and dysfunction can be unsettling. We can start to doubt our innate goodness. And that very thought can tip us over into believing that all is lost, that despite our prayers and efforts, collectively, we are going in the wrong direction.
But let us remind you of something. What you see around you on Earth is only a surface impression. The real truth does not get fully expressed in the physical realm. If you wish to access this, you need to turn your gaze not outward, but inward, to the light of your own heart, which is the door to truth, beauty and goodness. We’ve said this many times, but we’ll say it again. These are not flowery words to make you feel better. This is the design of (human) existence. The heart is the portal for you to access your innate goodness. It contains the full information of your origin (as a computer-type code). The more you turn your conscious attention to your heart, the more you activate this code. And this in turn unlocks capacities and knowingness, and the next stage of your growth.
So as we see the actors on the human stage ramping up their individual and group battles, let us remember that we are fully equipped to contribute to the positive unfolding of the wider human story. When we move towards the light, we take humanity with us.
If you feel drawn to support the White Helmets’ campaign to raise money for supplies, you can donate using this link.