Peace is Possible by HALA ATASSI [Photo Essay]

SYRIA — “Peace is possible.” That was the title of the community initiative on the day of world peace on November 21, this past year, led by the Junior Chamber International of Hamah City in Syria we participated in this special day. This initiative was sponsored by UNICEF and received media coverage, because of good organizing and managing, as well as the great efforts by the voluntary group.

With this active, passionate, and outstanding group, including myself, we made this amazing mural in the Shareaa neighborhood.

We started the day with big smiles on our faces. Encouraging each other was always the key to great achievements with voluntary work. At 10:00 am we started the day with fire inside us, we were so excited. My friends in that group were not only volunteers; there were artists, architects, and designers. Some even had experience in the field of voluntary work, others assisting projects. Some also had experience in leading, thanks to the leader of the team, Salem.

I had a lot of experience with volunteering, so I was given organizing and managing tasks. At first, we prepared the equipment, paint colors, brushes, and then we filled the wall with white spaces. Artists and architects drew the main lines of the mural, while some of us started to mix the colors, supervised by artists in order to prepare the right colors for the mural.

We all assisted filling in the blanks, and of course artists were always there to supervise and correct the mistakes. It was such a long day, we worked until 9:00 pm. So, it was 11 hours of hard work, including a lunch break of about a half hour.

People who are not from Syria won’t figure out the meaning of the painting on the wall. So, I will explain to you the concept of its design. I talked to the graphic designer who designed it, his name is Raed. He is a student of dentistry and an artist. He told me that they wanted something extraordinary, something never seen before in the local area.

At first, the mural was designed to contain traits of Hamah city, and Hamah is known by its Waterwheels. Local people call it “Nawaeer.” So, Raed designed water wheels in black, and the background in orange, in order to see the view of sunset in Hamah. There were also birds put into the design, because we all know that birds refer to peace.

The project was covered by a talented local photographer and a journalist. National TV also interviewed us to explain our work. Here’s what I said: “Art is a way to express peace, and on this day of the 21st of November, on the day of world peace, we are all here to prove that peace is possible through this artwork, and to prove that although Syrians are having bad times in this war, nothing is stopping them from believing in peace!”

My friend Mofaq said: “On this day, our team is trying to prove that peace is possible, and we all wish to reach this goal. Peace.”

After we finished the mural, we were very happy about what we had created. This great achievement will be pleasurable to everyone in the area. And it will deliver its message of “Peace is possible” through something magnificent like art.

Volunteer work can really make you learn new things, and give you new skills. You will meet new people, and make good friends. I gained real friends that day.

You will learn to add value to your society. You will learn how to work in a team, how to lead, how to succeed with hard work but few resources. Even if your society won’t accept new ideas, through volunteering, at least you will be surprised how they will appreciate it. It will be acceptable because it’s a magnificent work from the heart that has a major mission, which is to make a difference.

As we finished, my friends and I painted our hands with colors. Each one chose a different color, and we made our handprints on the lower part of the mural, and so our fingerprints will always be there.

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