I am Activism and So Can You

Let’s talk activism.

Definition: The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring out political or social change.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard, “No matter what I do, it will never be enough to change the situation in Syria”, I’d be a billionaire. Yup, billionaire.

I don’t know who keeps asking people to come up with a one shot solution to Syria and carry it out on their own, but I’d really wish they’d stop putting the idea that you’ve only helped if you’ve fixed all of Syria. If everyone had this mentality, then no one would have done, or would ever do, anything. The millions of dollars that have been raised for Syria, awareness campaigns, conferences, think tanks, and policy changes would have never been collected, established, or happened. Syrians would be dying, losing their homes, family members, and their entire lives, and no one would even know.

But even beyond large scale activism, a lot of good work gets done.

On a smaller scale, that sweater you gave away that one time six months ago would have never kept that ten year old girl in a refugee camp warm during the winter. That pair of shoes would never have made it to that boy who loves to run around, his only source of happiness, and protected him from getting blisters, or worse, on his feet. Those ten dollars you don’t really remember donating would not have provided that starving family with a meal for the day.

Ya, your donation didn’t stop the war, prevent people from dying, or rebuild the city of Homs, BUT it helped someone who really needed it. Most importantly, it was done as a team effort. From the people who donated, to the people who transported and distributed the donations, it was all a collective effort. Because no one can do it all alone. But together, we can make a lot of good things happen. We can clothe those who fled their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs, we can feed the hungry, we can heal the wounded. We just can’t do it alone.

Activism isn’t about saving Syria, or any other country. It’s also not coming up with and executing the one solution to fix it all, although that would be incredible. It’s about doing what you can, to effect change, however you can. Most importantly, and most overlooked, is that it’s about changing and positioning yourself in such a way that you can become a global citizen who effects positive change, no matter how small.

You can do activism, but you can also BE activism. Because activism is more than just fulfilling tasks. You become activism when making change becomes your purpose and your disposition becomes determination to make change- big or small. Every activist, humanitarian, and person has a role, it’s just a matter of figuring it out.

So go out and do something, big or small! Take a risk, try something new, and don’t be afraid to propose something that’s a little out there. You can raise millions of dollars, perform free surgeries, make a movie, start a blog, make yourself someone who can help when it’s time to rebuild, or whatever you want. You decide how you want to be an activist, and there is no wrong way to do it. When a people have nothing, they need everything, giving you the opportunity to help with anything. Do whatever you can, however you can, just make it happen.

If you would like to get active and don’t know how, need help with your ideas, or just want to give me some feedback, please feel free to email me at nshakfeh@gmail.com

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About nshakfeh

Activism is more than just advocating for others, it's about making yourself into a person who can make a difference. I document how I do that here.

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