The child a two months , lost his mother and his eye after being hit by an artillery bombardment of the Assad regime targeting the popular market in the city of Hamuriyah in the #EasternGhouta— Amer almohibany (@amer_almohibany) December 16, 2017
This is one of the horrific crimes of #Assad regime
Every now and then, a viral internet campaign comes along that everyone should see.
A powerful reminder of this comes in the form of #StandWithKarim, a Twitter-focused movement that emerged after a heartbreaking image of a Syrian baby who lost his mother and one of his eyes in a bomb strike carried out by the Syrian government was widely circulated on social media.
Twitter immediately reacted to the images of Karim after photographer Amer Almohibany captured and shared them on social media. The 3-month-old child suffered major wounds after shelling struck his home in Damascus earlier this month.
"I was very touched by this sad story,” Almohibany told BuzzFeed News. “Even after I left Karim [he] did not leave my memory.”
The photographer tweeted out another photo depicting his own young child holding one hand over his eye in a gesture of solidarity that would also go viral. His intention was to bring attention to the countless innocent children that are affected by the violence of the Syrian Civil War, which has raged since 2011.
For the last four years, the Syrian government has targeted the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, blocking aid and medical supplies as a punitive measure. Bombing of the area, where an estimated 400,000 Syrian civilians live, is a regular occurrence.
Before long, the hashtags #StandWithKarim and #SolidarityWithKarim spread across the internet like wildfire. Syrians posted pictures of themselves and their children holding one hand over their eye to demonstrate their support of Karim.
Syrian children stand in solidarity with Karim, who lost his eye and had his skull broken by Assad regime shelling on his home in Eastern Ghouta. His mother was also killed by the same attack. #SolidarityWithKarimpic.twitter.com/TavgAkyQzf— هادي العبدالله Hadi (@HadiAlabdallah) December 18, 2017
Activists, parents, and even politicians took part in the campaign, including UK Ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Roycroft.
When we sit around the #UNSC & warn that inaction will mean more people are going to die. More schools bombed. More children scarred. This is what we mean.— Matthew Rycroft (@MatthewRycroft1) December 19, 2017
We must see an end to the bombardment & siege of #EasternGhouta.#SolidarityWithKarimpic.twitter.com/8Io85VlDdF
In a speech on the Syrian conflict, Roycroft said that the Syrian government’s siege of the Damascus neighborhood where the child lived was resulting in immense suffering.
“The people of Eastern Ghouta have suffered enough,” he said. “We must stand in solidarity with Karim.”
Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Achieving good health and well being, and fighting for peace, justice, and strong institutions are goals 3 and 16 respectively. You can take action on these issues here.
In the same speech at the UN, Roycroft urged Russia to pressure the Syrian government to allow food and medical supplies into Eastern Ghouta. Currently, the Syrian government not only blocks the flow of these materials, but also prevents the movement of injured civilians into areas where they might receive treatment. Roycroft said these actions were unacceptable.
“The siege must end,” he said. “It really is a matter of life and death.”