Sail4Syria in the heart of France.

S'il vous plaît faites défiler pour la traduction française..

We are now in Vitry-le-François, a town in the Marne department of North Eastern France.

As we proceed South we continue to be well received and looked after by many kind and generous people who we encounter in the locks and along the tow paths of the canals we are traversing (including all the friendly and helpful lock-keepers).

Along the tow paths we are discovering abundant supplies of wild food which are sustaining, free and tasty too!  There are loads of places to camp with plenty of wood around for our fires.  We now have a mini rocket stove as well which goes like a rocket!

Our thoughts are with the people of Syria and the Middle East who are enduring a great deal of suffering, destruction and misery at this time of many crises.  We hope and call for a sane response from the global community of nations.  Such a response should aim at promoting peace and justice for all the people of Syria and the Middle East.

The next part of our trip will take us through 114 locks spread over 250 KM.  Then we will reach the Saone river, which we hope will push us rapidly towards the Mediterranean Sea…  STAY TUNED!

PS:  We are keen to meet up with like minded people and groups to take part in solidarity actions for  peace and justice in Syria.

Please contact us (Maria G and Simon) by phone on: +33 (0) 785 99 15 21

lock map.

lock map.

la traduction française..

Nous sommes maintenant à Vitry-le-François, une ville dans le département de la Marne de Nord Est de la France.

Alors que nous poursuivons Sud nous continuons à être bien reçu et examiné par de nombreux gens gentils et généreux qui nous rencontrons dans les écluses et le long des chemins de halage des canaux nous traversons (y compris tous les éclusiers sympathiques et serviables).

Le long des chemins de halage nous découvrons d’abondantes réserves de nourriture sauvage qui sont le maintien, libre et savoureux trop! Il ya des tas d’endroits pour camper avec beaucoup de bois autour de nos feux. Nous avons maintenant un mini four-fusée ainsi qui va comme une fusée!

Nos pensées sont avec le peuple de Syrie et du Moyen-Orient qui endurent beaucoup de souffrances, la destruction et la misère à cette époque de nombreuses crises. Nous espérons et nous appelons à une réponse sensée de la communauté mondiale des nations. Une telle réponse devrait viser à promouvoir la paix et la justice pour tous les peuples de Syrie et du Moyen-Orient.

La prochaine partie de notre voyage nous mènera à travers 114 écluses réparties sur 250 km. Ensuite, nous allons rejoindre la Saône, qui nous l’espérons, nous pousser rapidement vers la mer Méditerranée Restez à l’écoute!

PS: Nous sommes désireux de rencontrer des personnes et des groupes aux vues similaires à participer à des actions de solidarité pour la paix et la justice en Syrie.

S’il vous plaît nous (Maria G et Simon) contacter par téléphone au: +33 (0) 785 99 15 21

Sail4Syria…rowing through France!

S'il vous plaît faites défiler pour la traduction française..

It is over 3 weeks since Maria and I decided to enter the canal system of France at Calais.  This was a change from our original plan to sail several hundred miles around the West coast of France until we reached the Canal De Midi which leads to the Mediterranean Sea.  This decision to go inland early has turned out to be a sensible one as we have avoided all the issues of strong wind and unfavorable weather that makes sea sailing for a dinghy dangerous but not an issue when rowing along a safely sheltered canal.  Rowing is a bit slow though! Canal cruising is also not without risk and you have to keep a look out for the large commercial barges which can arrive at any moment…

In the past week, two sets of boaters have offered tows which have been gladly accepted.  These tows propelled the boat along along covering distances in a few hours that would have taken days of rowing.  This has taken the edge off a bit and draws us closer to the Mediterranean Sea and our final destination: Beirut.

A desirable effect of traveling along the inland waterways is that we have made contact with many people living in the various villages, towns and cities that lie beside the canals in the North of France.  We have been received very warmly by many people who have shown us kindness in many ways.  We’ve been given warm and dry beds for a night, delicious hot meals, cups of tea and coffee, smiles, affection, supportive words and useful information.  This support has really boosted our morale and makes all the difference after a days row or following a drenching in a rain storm!

In Saint Quentin, I took the opportunity to ask some people I encountered in the town square whether they would write messages of support for the people of Syria in this particularly challenging time.  Most people who I asked were glad to write something.  The sentiments their words expressed showed care, concern and a hope for peace and justice for those living in Syria.  I am planning to do more of these solidarity actions.

In the many conversations we have had on the subject of the Middle East, most people that we have encountered share our view that it is madness for any government to be selling weapons to any governments or groups in this region and that the primary focus should be on solving the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Gaza and elsewhere.

Simon Moore, Rheims.  11/09/14

The following are links to articles that have been published about Sail4Syria in regional newspapers in France:

http://www.nordlittoral.fr/accueil/direction-le-liban-dans-un-voilier-de-4-5-m-pour-soutenir-ia0b0n130070

http://m.aisnenouvelle.fr/region/saint-quentin-ramer-pour-aider-les-refugies-syriens-ia16b108n110341

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Il est plus de 3 semaines depuis Maria et moi avons décidé d’entrer dans le système de canal de France au début de Calais. Ce fut un changement de notre plan initial de naviguer plusieurs centaines de miles autour de la côte Ouest de la France jusqu’à ce que nous ayons atteint le Canal du Midi qui mène à la mer Méditerranée. Cette décision s’est avérée être un judicieux que nous avons évité toutes les questions de fort vent et des conditions météorologiques défavorables qui fait voile en mer pour un dériveur dangereux, que ces conditions ne sont pas un problème lorsque l’aviron le long d’un canal à l’abri en toute sécurité. Il est un peu lent si! Canal croisière n’est pas non plus sans risque et vous devez garder un oeil sur des grands bateaux de commerce qui peuvent arriver à tout moment

La semaine dernière, deux ensembles de plaisanciers ont offert câbles qui ont été acceptés avec joie et propulsion du bateau ainsi que le long de couvrir des distances de quelques heures qui ont pris une journée ou plus en aviron. Cela a pris le bord un peu et nous rapproche de la mer Méditerranée et notre destination finale: Beyrouth.

Un effet souhaitable de voyager le long des voies navigables est que nous avons pris contact avec de nombreuses personnes vivant dans les villages différents, les villes qui se trouvent à côté des canaux du Nord de la France. Nous avons été reçus très chaleureusement par de nombreuses personnes qui nous ont montré la gentillesse de bien des façons. Nous avons reçu des lits chauds et secs pour une nuit, de délicieux repas chauds, des tasses de thé et de café, des sourires, de l’affection, des mots d’encouragement et des informations utiles. Ce soutien nous a vraiment stimulé et fait toute la différence après une dispute ou à la suite d’un trempage dans une tempête de pluie jours.

A Saint Quentin, j’ai saisi l’occasion pour demander à certaines personnes que j’ai rencontrées dans la place du village s’ils écrire des messages de soutien au peuple de Syrie qui subissent une situation immense et extrêmement difficile. La plupart des gens à qui j’ai demandé étaient heureux d’écrire quelque chose. Les sentiments exprimés leurs mots ont montré soins, le souci et un espoir de paix et de justice pour ceux qui vivent en Syrie. J’ai l’intention de faire plus de ces actions de solidarité.

Dans les nombreuses conversations que nous avons eu sur le sujet du Moyen-Orient, la plupart des gens que nous avons rencontrés part de notre avis que c’est de la folie pour un gouvernement d’être de vendre des armes à des gouvernements ou des groupes dans cette région et que l’accent doit être mis sur résoudre la crise humanitaire en Syrie, à Gaza et ailleurs.

Simon Moore, Reims. 09/11/14

Voici des liens vers des articles qui ont été publiés sur Sail4Syria dans les journaux régionaux en France:

http://www.nordlittoral.fr/accueil/direction-le-liban-dans-un-voilier-de-4-5-m-pour-soutenir-ia0b0n130070

http://m.aisnenouvelle.fr/region/saint-quentin-ramer-pour-aider-les-refugies-syriens-ia16b108n110341

Syria Film & Food.

syriafood+film

   

Come and enjoy delicious hot food, cake and a thought-provoking film about the civil war in Syria and its impact on the lives of children (Think of the children!).


And… bring yer wallets! We’re raising money to help fund a magazine written by Syrian refugee kids.

~ Full Details of the Evening ~

19:00 – Food and welcome (Bring a plate and a mug)

Brief introduction to Syrian Eyes, Syria Peace and Justice and the background to the conflict in Syria.

Syria Peace & Justice are currently seeking to raise £1200 to sponsor the production of a children’s magazine. The content of the magazine will be written and edited entirely by Syrian refugee children living in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon and aims to give an outlet to their creativity and provide a source of entertainment. Syria P&J aim to reach the target amount by 1st January 2015.

This project is being conducted in co-operation with the group ‘Syrian Eyes’: a grass roots group made up of mostly young non-paid Syrian refugees based in the Beqaa valley in Lebanon who formed in October 2013 with the aim of identifying and providing for the needs of Syrian refugee families in Lebanon and is entirely volunteer run. Since that time they have also assisted the UNHCR by helping to deliver aid packages to many different refugee camps.

~

20:00 – Film screening: Children on the Frontline (48mins, 2014)

The children of Syria are often the forgotten victims in the ongoing civil war. More than 11,000 children have been killed and over a million are now refugees.

Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, has become engulfed by fighting between pro- and anti-regime groups and over 2000 children have been killed there. Schools have shut, food is in serious shortage and there is the constant threat of shelling, sniper fire and kidnap.

This Dispatches documentary tells the story of five young children whose lives have been changed forever by the war in Syria: young sisters Helen, Farah and Sara and their brother Mohammed, whose father is a rebel commander in Aleppo; and Aboude, a singer and poster boy for the Syrian.

All five have shown amazing resilience, forsaking their innocence and adapting to life, as the world around them slips into greater chaos and anarchy.

~

21:00 – Q&A and discussion with guests, including the activist group Syria Peace & Justice. Plus an update on Simon Moore (House 11) and his sailing trip to Lebanon in solidarity with the Syrian people.

~

Donations welcome all evening. For more info, ask Dave Charles (House 8).

Sail4Syria. (Voile pour La Syrie).

Défiler vers le bas pour la traduction Française...

Maria Gallastegui and Simon Moore embarked on the 12 of July on a sailing voyage from London to Beirut in ‘Rumi’ a Wayfarer Sailing boat. We arrived in Calais on Monday the 4th of August and are currently rowing through the French canals to the Mediterranean Sea.  We will be passing through Rheims, Dijon, Lyon and Marseille.

We are keen to meet up with like minded people and groups to take part in solidarity actions for  peace and justice in Syria.

Please contact us (Maria G and Simon) by phone on: +33 (0) 785 99 15 21

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The aims of Sail4Syria (S4S), which is a project of London-based Syria Peace & Justice (SPJ) are as follows: [1]·
 
  • To show solidarity with people whose lives have been torn apart by the crisis in Syria, including those still living in war zones and besieged areas and the more than 2.5 million refugees dispersed mainly around neighbouring countries, including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey;·
  • To build networks with and support grassroots organisations and communities inside and outside Syria working to address the serious humanitarian and societal issues created by the crisis, as well as those working non-violently for positive democratic change within Syria; [2]
  • To publicise our call for an end to the fuelling and intensifying of the conflict by various governments including UK, USA, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Turkey who have been facilitating the flow of weapons and military equipment into the country to all sides, [3] and without taking their full share of responsibility for the ensuing humanitarian crisis. [4]

SPJ is calling for non-violent action to highlight and challenge the above behaviour and encourage a responsible, compassionate and peaceful approach to the Syria crisis from the international community.

The S4S team is seeking to link up with like-minded groups and individuals as it passes through various cities, towns and villages along its route.

S4S is sponsoring a children’s activity project for Syrian refugee children, in co-ordination with Syrian Eyes. [2]  For more about this project, please click here.

For media enquiries or further information, please contact: syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com

Tel:

Simon and Maria G (France) +33 (0) 785 99 15 21;
Dan (UK – enquiries in English only): +44 (0)7506 234 091 / +44 (0)7774 543 818;
Maria F (UK – enquiries in French, Spanish, Arabic or English): +44 (0)7580 521 411

Notes to editor:

1. Syria Peace & Justice (SPJ) is an open, London-based non-sectarian grassroots group, formed in October 2013. It wishes to promote a peaceful end to the terrible conflict in Syria and justice and human rights for all of its people.

More information about the group and updates on the progress of the Sail4Syria (S4S) voyage can be found at:
http://www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

or http://www.facebook.com/sail4syria

2. SPJ and S4S are currently supporting one group called Syrian Eyes, which is made up of mostly young unpaid Syrian refugees who dedicate their time to providing for the needs of the Syrian refugee families in Lebanon.

Syrian Eyes’ main method of communication with the wider world is through their Facebook page. This is mostly written in Arabic, but does allow non-Arabic speakers to see many photos illustrating their activities in Lebanon. Syrian Eyes describes itself thus*:

“Seeks to provide immediate relief assistance to the displaced people in the Syrian refugee camps in the State of brotherly Lebanon, in addition to the establishment of a small development projects to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of these camps as much as possible.
*auto-translation from Arabic;

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22906965
4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/13/syrian-refugee-catastrophe-european-union-united-nations

————————————————————————————————————–

 La traduction Francaise:
 
Maria Gallastegui et Simon Moore sommes partis, le 12 Juillet 2014, dans un voyage de Londres à Beirut, à bord de ´Rumi’, un voilier Wayfarer dinghy de 16 pieds (4,8 m).
Nous sommes arrivés à Calais le lundi 4 Août et actuellement ramons à travers les canaux françaises à la mer Méditerranée. Nous serons en passant par Reims, Dijon, Lyon et Marseille.
Nous souhaitons rencontrer des gens et des groupes aux vues similaires à participer à des actions de solidarité pour la paix et la justice en Syrie.
S’il vous plaît contactez-nous par téléphone au: +33 (0) 785 99 15 21
 
Les objectifs de Sail4Syria (S4S), qui est un projet de la Syrie la paix et la justice (SPJ), basé à Londres sont les suivantes: [1] ·
  •  Faire preuve de solidarité avec les personnes dont les vies ont été déchirées par la crise en Syrie, y compris ceux qui vivent encore dans des zones de guerre et les zones assiégées et les plus de 2,5 millions de réfugiés dispersés pays principalement autour de voisins, dont l’Irak, la Jordanie, le Liban et la Turquie; · 
  • Pour créer des réseaux avec et soutenir les organisations et les communautés à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur Syrie de travail pour aborder les questions humanitaires et sociales graves créés par la crise de base, ainsi que ceux qui travaillent de façon non violente pour le changement démocratique positif en Syrie; [2] 
  • Pour connaître notre appel pour la fin de l ‘alimentation et l’intensification du conflit par les différents gouvernements, y compris au Royaume-Uni, Etats-Unis, la Russie, l’Iran, le Qatar, l’Arabie saoudite et la Turquie qui ont été facilite le flux d’armes et de matériel militaire dans le pays de tous les côtés , [3] et sans prendre pleinement leur part de responsabilité dans la crise humanitaire qui a suivi. [4]

SPJ appelle à une action non-violente pour mettre en évidence et de contester le comportement ci-dessus et d’encourager une approche responsable, compatissant et pacifique à la crise en Syrie de la communauté internationale.

L’équipe S4S cherche à établir des liens avec des groupes et des individus semblables qui passe dans différents villes et villages le long de son itinéraire.

S4S parraine le projet d’activités pour les enfants pour les enfants de réfugiés syriens, en coordination avec le groupe: ‘Syrian Eyes’. [2] Pour plus sur ce projet, s’il vous plaît cliquez ici.

Pour les demandes des médias ou de plus amples informations, s’il vous plaît contacter: syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com

Tél:

Simon & Maria (de mobile français) +33 (0) 785 99 15 21

ou Dan (UK-based): +44 (0) 7506 234 091 / +44 (0) 7774 543 818

Notes à l’éditeur:

1. Syrie Paix et Justice (SPJ) est un groupe ouvert, basé à Londres, non-sectaire base, formé en Octobre 2013 Il souhaite promouvoir une issue pacifique à la terrible conflit en Syrie et de la justice et des droits humains pour tous ses habitants .

Plus d’informations sur le groupe et les mises à jour sur les progrès de la Sail4Syria (S4S) voyage peut être trouvé à:
http://www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com ou http://www.facebook.com/sail4syria

2. SPJ et S4S soutiennent actuellement un groupe appelé ‘Syrian Eyes’, qui est composé principalement de jeunes réfugiés syriens non rémunérés qui consacrent leur temps à fournir pour les besoins des familles de réfugiés syriens au Liban.

Principale méthode de ‘Syrian Eyes’ de communication avec le reste du monde à travers leur page Facebook. Cela est principalement écrit en arabe, mais ne permet non arabophones à voir de nombreuses photos illustrant leurs activités au Liban. ‘Syrian Eyes’ se décrit ainsi *:

«Cherche à obtenir une aide d’urgence immédiate aux personnes déplacées dans les camps de réfugiés syriens dans l’État de Liban frère, en plus de la création d’un des petits projets de développement visant à améliorer les conditions de vie des habitants de ces camps, autant que possible.”
* auto-traduction de l’arabe;

Sail4Syria: fuelled by ‘People Power’…

On the beach at St Margaret's Bay, near Dover.  With supportive local people.

On the beach at St Margaret’s Bay, near Dover. With supportive local people.  04/08/14

Sail4Syria is being carried out on a shoestring budget and could not be possible without all the kind assistance of people who we have encountered along the way.  People have provided support in a variety of ways.  Included below are some of the people and groups who have kept us going…

April 2014.

Thanks to Robert Hoare for his help and assistance in transporting the little boat ‘Rumi’ to the River Thames in Eynsham Oxfordshire.

Thanks to Ben at the ‘Fibreglass Shop’ in Brentford for generously donating fibreglass and assosiated material, to make good the boat!

http://www.thefibreglassshop.co.uk/

Also thanks to John and Anne-Marie from ‘Edge Sails’ who donated our main sail.

The main sail has 3 reefing points allowing us to sail in a much safer way than the sail we originally had.

http://www.edgesails.com/

Thanks to the community spirit of Brentford residence and local boat owners.

12th July – Official departure.Thanks to the great assistance from Chris Roper (East London Against the Arms Fair) and John Kenton who assisted in our launch from Gabriels Wharf, South Bank London.

Thanks to all who came to see us off, friends and family.

13th July -Thanks to ‘Baraccuda Bill’ residing at the South Docks Marina.

Also we need to mention a kindly concern from Ian and Ricky from a Port of London Authority vessel.

14th July Gravesend Sailing Club

Needed assistance from the Gravesend Sailing Club as our ‘centre board’ has become jammed and we are unable to drop the centre board for safe sailing. They volunteered the availability of their on-site crane. We were able to lift ‘Rumi’ out of the water. We discovered several chips in the hull which had to be repaired with fibreglass. The centre board was freed up and functioning well.

Thanks to John,( also known as Fred ) Ron, Bob, Colin and all members of the sailing club who accommodated our presence in a noble spirit.

http://www.gravesendsailingclub.co.uk/gscweb/page.php?3

20th July – Gravesend to Queensborough, Isle of Sheppey.

It was a beautiful day when we departed. On closing on Garrets Point the weather turned foul and we had to battle high winds and strong lashing rain. On heading towards Queensborough we had to take to oars as the wind suddenly dropped. We were very grateful to an offer of a tow from a French yacht and two kindly French ‘gentlemen’ Vive le France!

Queensborough 20th July – 24th July

Had to carry out essential repairs. Stayed on a galleon owned and built by Cap’n Lee who gave great advise and assistance and also breakfast!

http://pirateshipkent.com/

27th – 29th Margate

Adverse weather, taken in the care of ‘Margate Yacht Club’

Thanks for shelter and assistance Peter, Sue and Jason!

http://www.margateyachtclub.org/

29th – 31st July Ramsgate.

Thanks to the help and assistance from the staff of the ‘Harbour Office’ at Port of Ramsgate.

http://www.portoframsgate.co.uk/

Thanks to Penny and Donna from the ‘Seamans Chapel’ who will be praying for us during our voyage.

31st July St Margarets Bay, Dover

Thanks to the local community including Nigel and Neil who came to our assistance and who supported us during the time we spent at St Margarets Bay. We had to wait for a ‘good weather’ window for our attempt at the Channel crossing.

https://www.google.fr/search?q=St+Margarets+Bay&client=ubuntu&hs=sB5&channel=fs&gl=uk&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=m03iU8zbJsi00QWlu4GABg&ved=0CDYQsAQ&biw=959&bih=510

4th July Depart for Calais.

At 3.20pm we departed St Margarets Bay. Said farewell the our friends Fred, Julian, Julie, and co.

Escorted by Skipper Marcus and crew David, Richard, and Helen from the ‘Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club’ thanks for your great help and assistance.

http://www.rcpyc.org.uk/

Arrived in Calais safe and sound!

Sail 4 Syria Update

SONY DSC

Maria, Simon and Rumi on shore

Paul, who also made the video of Maria and Simon’s departure which can be seen here https://vimeo.com/101240401, went down to Gravesend on Saturday 19th July and has kindly provided us with a short report (with photographs) about how they’ve been getting on:

“Maria and Simon spent the whole of last week at Gravesend Sailing Club.
The club’s hospitality and help was way beyond the call of duty. Maria
and Simon were allowed to sleep inside the club house and members of the
club repaired and configured the boat to make it fit for the journey.
Apparently, after hauling the boat out of the water, four holes in the
hull were discovered. The sailing club members made all of the necessary
repairs for free. There was also lots of advice on how to proceed with
their adventure in probably the most amazingly sociable and friendly
place you could imagine. As well as helping with the boat repairs and
making preparations for the next stage of the journey, Maria and Simon
also pitched in at the club house doing cooking, cleaning and lots of
tea making. I was certainly carrying a few extra pounds when I left
after munching my way through sausage, egg and beans and a huge lentil
curry. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to find out about the
people at the club. But I got photos of Mike and Colin who were part of
the team helping out with the boat. Maria and Simon have also promised
to go back and give a talk about their journey upon their return.
Weather permitting, Maria and Simon should have set sail again at 7am on
Sunday (20th July).”

GravesendSailingClub

Thank you to everyone at Gravesend Sailing Club for supporting Maria, Simon and Sail 4 Syria. We look forward to sharing more news of their voyage as it develops.

In peace,

Russ

SONY DSC

Colin and Maria

Please ‘like’ Sail4Syria on Facebook for more frequent updates about Simon and Maria’s journey (and far more pictures).

Sail 4 Syria updated departure details

Update: Sunday 13th July 2014

Maria and Simon set off from central London on their Sail 4 Syria odyssey to Lebanon yesterday afternoon.

After spending last night in South Dock in Rotherhithe, this afternoon they will continue eastwards past the Thames flood barrier in Woolwich.

Please support Maria and Simon in any way you can, such as by making a donation to Sail 4 Syria and/or the Syrian Eyes appeal.

Maria and Simon row off down the Thames from central London, 12 July 2014 - Image (c) 2014 D. Viesnik / Syria Peace & Justice)

Maria and Simon row off down the Thames from central London, 12 July 2014 – Image (c) 2014 D. Viesnik / Syria Peace & Justice)

*** More photos from Saturday’s departure from central London: ***

https://picasaweb.google.com/vd2012.pics/Sail4SyriaDepartureFromCentralLondon

http://www.demotix.com/news/5239889/sail-4-syria-starts-gabriel-wharf-london#media-5239857

Click here for a link to a video featuring interviews with Maria and some other Syria Peace & Justice group members.

#Sail4Syria supporters gather on the South Bank of the river Thames in central London on 12th July 2014. Credit: Syria Peace & Justice.

Syria Solidarity activists to sail from London to Beirut

 Sail4Syria duo to depart from the shore of the Thames at The South Bank (the beach next to Gabriel’s Wharf), London, Saturday 12th July 2014 at 3 p.m. (click here for map)
 
On Saturday 12th July, following several months of preparations, two peace activists, Maria Gallastegui and Simon Moore, will embark on a sailing voyage of over 3500 miles from London to Beirut, Lebanon.  This action is in solidarity with the people of Syria. They will travel aboard ‘Rumi‘: a 16-foot Wayfarer dinghy.
Maria Gallestegui on board 'Rumi'.  Sail designed and painted by artist Helyn Gulley.

Maria Gallestegui on board ‘Rumi’. Sail designed and painted by artist Helyn Gulley.

The aims of Sail4Syria (S4S), which is a project of London-based Syria Peace & Justice (SPJ) are as follows: [1]·
  • To show solidarity with people whose lives have been torn apart by the crisis in Syria, including those still living in war zones and besieged areas and the more than 2.5 million refugees dispersed mainly around neighbouring countries, including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey;·
  • To build networks with and support grassroots organisations and communities inside and outside Syria working to address the serious humanitarian and societal issues created by the crisis, as well as those working non-violently for positive democratic change within Syria; [2]
  • To publicise our call for an end to the fuelling and intensifying of the conflict by various governments including UK, USA, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Turkey who have been facilitating the flow of weapons and military equipment into the country to all sides, [3] and without taking their full share of responsibility for the ensuing humanitarian crisis. [4]

SPJ is calling for non-violent action to highlight and challenge the above behaviour and encourage a responsible, compassionate and peaceful approach to the Syria crisis from the international community.

The S4S team is seeking to link up with like-minded groups and individuals as it passes through various cities, towns and villages along its route.

SPJ and S4S will soon be announcing the sponsorship of a children’s activity project for Syrian refugee children, in co-ordination with Syrian Eyes. [2]  This will be published via the Syria Peace & Justice website.

For media enquiries or further information, please contact: syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com

Tel:  Maria: +44 (0)7907 233 861;  Simon: +44 (0)7963 475 195;  or Dan (UK-based): +44 (0)7506 234 091/ +44 (0)7774 543 818

Notes to editor:

1. Syria Peace & Justice (SPJ) is an open, London-based non-sectarian grassroots group, formed in October 2013. It wishes to promote a peaceful end to the terrible conflict in Syria and justice and human rights for all of its people.

More information about the group and updates on the progress of the Sail4Syria (S4S) voyage can be found at:
http://www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

2. SPJ and S4S are currently supporting one group called Syrian Eyes, which is made up of mostly young unpaid Syrian refugees who dedicate their time to providing for the needs of the Syrian refugee families in Lebanon.

Syrian Eyes’ main method of communication with the wider world is through their Facebook page. This is mostly written in Arabic, but does allow non-Arabic speakers to see many photos illustrating their activities in Lebanon. Syrian Eyes describes itself thus*:

“Seeks to provide immediate relief assistance to the displaced people in the Syrian refugee camps in the State of brotherly Lebanon, in addition to the establishment of a small development projects to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of these camps as much as possible.
*auto-translation from Arabic;

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22906965
4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/13/syrian-refugee-catastrophe-european-union-united-nations