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Remembering lives lost at Aleppo

Rachel Shin, Staff Reporter

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The Muslim Student Association and the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action hosted a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Syrian Civil War living in the city of Aleppo on Thursday,  Jan. 12.

Candles were passed out to De Anza College students and lit for a moment of silence to pay respect for what happened to those in Aleppo.

The vigil also provided an open mic for people to share their reasons for coming, how they heard about the event and express themselves.

Co-host and VIDA intern-staff David Granado Jr., 21, sociology major, said, “The main thing we were trying to do was pay respect for humanity and humankind that was kind of being neglected for the past six years, and remembering the people that were openly taking videos of themselves being bombed and waiting for the bombings to come.”

“I wanted to raise awareness and remember lives that were forgotten. That was honestly it,” Co-host Anisa Chaudhry, 18, psychology major said.

Chaudhry said it was hard to see people go through hardships, because it felt personal as a Muslim-American who experienced oppression.

“Either way, it didn’t matter who or what race that person was. If that person was in trouble, I had to do something about it. These were human lives,” Chaudhry said.

Students stood in front a painted sign that read “Stand with Aleppo,” voicing their thoughts on the turmoil in the Syrian city. Many nodded in agreement, bowing their heads.

The event was launched through a Facebook event, drawing the attention of many people throughout the Bay Area.

“I always had a passion for social justice and global politics,” event attendee Elias Kamal, 19, political science major said.

“This let us bring it home.” Kamal said as a Muslim-American he understood feeling the need to stand up for those with similar religions or neighboring countries who are oppressed or discriminated against for reasons they cannot control.

“I was not going to wait for someone else to speak,” Chaudhry said.

“I was just doing my part, and I will keep doing my part.” Chaudhry said there was criticism while preparing the event, but it only made the event better.

“I welcome criticism, but I will not stop working towards this issue which is important to me.” Granado said, “We’re going to keep on showing support and not [let] people be forgotten.”

Aleppo, Syria’s most populated city, is the most impacted city in the Syrian civil war, which has raged since 2011.

The Syrian government, backed by Russia, has been fighting several groups that rebelled against them, including the Kurdish people and ISIS. Russian and Syrian forces failed to liberate the city from ISIS control, which resulted in heavy civilian casualties.

According to the UN, by December 2016, 400,000 deaths had been reported since the first attack in March 2011.

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