The White Helmets

Written on Saturday, February 25th.

One news story, out of the many ridiculous ones going on these days, really stuck out to me today. The Academy Awards are this weekend, and one of the documentaries that was nominated was directed by a Syrian man. On his way to the awards ceremony, he was barred entry to LAX because he’s from Syria. As you may know, Syria is one of the seven countries that is on Trump’s executive order ban that was recently put on hold by a Washington State judge (yay WA!). However, for some reason, this man was still not allowed entry into the United States and no one knows why.

If the current events is confusing + infuriating you as much as me, then you’re probably so lost on how you can help. It feels like we’re so far removed from it all, but then something happens in your own backyard. What do we do?

First, I wanted to be educated on what’s actually going on in Syria. And what better way to do so than through the documentary by the Syrian director?! Turns out, it’s a Netflix documentary so it was really easy to find. The White Helmets is a 40 minute movie (as long as an episode of Grey’s Anatomy) that follows a few members of the volunteer-driven organization, the White Helmets, that rescues victims of air strikes and violence in Syria and neighboring countries. This movie gives you a direct view into civilians’ lives in Syria today, and shows the true selflessness of so many of its residents. The volunteers don’t care what side you’re on, what your politics or religion are, they are there to rescue + protect. Their selflessness and courage is truly mind-blowing, and it’s even more impactful when you realize that they all had “normal” jobs — tailor, blacksmith, etc. — before the civil war made it too difficult to lead a life other than survival.

Next time you turn on Netflix and are about to start another episode of Parks + Recreation, take a second and navigate to The White Helmets. I promise it will be the most informative, inspiring 40 minutes you will experience. And if you can and are willing to do so, please donate to this amazing organization so they can continue doing what we only wish we had the courage to do.

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