Basel Termanini is determined to reach his goal
Aleppo has been weighing on the hearts of the entire world after the outpour of bone-chilling messages on social media by citizens, journalists, and activists still in the city, many claiming to be saying their goodbyes. In the wake of these desperate dispatches, a Facebook fundraiser started by Basel Termanini has asked for $1.5 million to “help the medical needs of the civilian victims of the air strikes and shelling in besieged Aleppo.” It’s been enormously successful, becoming the first ever Facebook fundraiser to eclipse the $1 million mark. More than 23,000 people from over 60 countries have donated to the cause in support of the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (SAMS).
Last September, libertarian candidate Gary Johnson stammered on Morning Joe when asked what he would do about Aleppo if elected. He blurted out, “About?” The presidential candidate had no idea where one of the world’s largest refugee crises was happening. And, not only that, he was smug about it. “And what is Aleppo?” he huffed when Mike Barnicle asked him about the Syrian city.
Since that snafu, a great many people have come to know a great deal about Aleppo: how airstrikes and ground swells have engulfed the city in a debris-filled haze; how the last hospital was bombed to oblivion, leaving survivors without access to life-saving surgery, medical personnel, and essential medical equipment; and, more recently, how the last rebel-held portions of the city were being closed in on by government forces.
The news largely came from the civilians themselves via social media. Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, and others have become a surreal lens through which to see the crisis. The outpouring from these voices—convinced that they are at death’s door—has been frightening. But it has also transformed into urgency. An urgency that is fueling this fundraiser to reach a never-before-attained Facebook fundraiser goal.
The updates from the page are encouraging. As we speak, the SAMS team is transporting the injured to busses that will then transport them to Idlib province, on the other side of the front lines.
“Finally the medical evacuation process has started and nearly 8,000 patients and injured medical staff were transported to Idlib province,” says Basel. “The amazing thing is that at the exact same time, at 7:20 a.m., when this fund reached $1,000,000 in collections, the first ambulance carrying the injured reached safety at the other side of the front line, a coincide? I think not!”
We think not, indeed. With four days left, the Facebook fund needs your help more than ever. We reached out to Basel Termanini, though he was unavailable. But through his messages, we know that he and others on the ground in Aleppo are overjoyed at how close the fund is to reaching its goal.
Citizens pose with signs saying #StandWithAleppo