Promoting Enduring Peace presented its annual Gandhi Peace Award during a Zoom webinar Sat. Nov. 21, 2020, to two Syrians doing humanitarian work.
The first is Dr. Zaher Sahloul. He’s past president of the Syrian-American Medical Society which has built and rebuilt hospitals in Syria, in recent years underground or in caves. He’s now president of Medglobal which helps not just in Syria, but in 14 countries. He’s a pulmonary specialist in Chicago where he’s currently helping treat patients with the Covid-19 virus. Click here for an archive of print and TV appearances by Dr. Sahloul.
The second honoree was Mayson Almisri. She is from Deraa where the mass demonstrations began in Syria in 2011. She is a leader in the Syrian Civil Defense, known in the West as the “White Helmets.” They are the heroes who dig out survivors and bodies from under the rubble of Assad or Russian bombs. They have enraged the Assad regime by making videos of the devastation caused by the barrel bombs and the chemicals. Now during the recent ceasefire, they work at disinfecting, hoping to ward off the virus inside the remnant of Idlib province. Click here for more about Mayson Almisri.
The Gandhi Peace Award has been given out since 1960 by Promoting Enduring Peace. It comes with a medal made of peace bronze forged from the metal of retired nuclear weapons and with a $5,000 cash prize that will be shared by the two honorees.
The Gandhi Peace Award has been awarded to peace heroes such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Tom Goldtooth, Omar Barghouti, Ralph Nader and Jackson Browne. (full list of laureates at https://pepeace.org/award-laureates )
The Board of PEP decided that its best contribution this year would be to give the prize in hopes it would help reorient the peace movement and the Left on an issue where many progressives seem to have gone astray.
It is said that most generals prepare for their last war. Most of the peace movement has done the same with Syria, making comparisons with the U.S. war against Iraq. Most have ignored the agency of Syrians and their efforts for a democratic uprising, one that has been met by incredible violence and influenced badly by foreign powers, but which still remains active whether hidden in Deraa and Idlib or alive among refugees around the world. Our award this year is to the medical workers and rescuers of Syria.