Friday's massacre of 108 people, including dozens of children, in the Syrian town of Houla, has been roundly condemned by world powers as fears of a protracted civil war take hold. This weekend's horrific violence is the latest episode since a 14-month long uprising openly challenged the regime of Bashar al-Assad. In that time, the death toll has topped over 9,000 according to United Nations estimates as many more have been displaced from their homes.
In response to the ongoing crisis, UC Irvine's Society of Arab Students, Middle East Studies Student Initiative, Muslim Student Union, and Students for Justice in Palestine have organized a 'Sounds for Syria' humanitarian fundraiser taking place this evening starting at 7 p.m. featuring LA-based Syrian hip-hop artist Omar Offendum.
The Weekly's Yasmin Nouh previously interviewed the rapper in depth about the recent release of his decidedly anti-Assad anthem “#Syria” produced by Irvine's own Sami Matar. As she noted then, the opening rhymes include, “Let's keep hope alive / Stand in solidarity with all of your fellow citizens / Peacefully protesting for an end to all the militance.”
Taking place at the Crystal Cove Auditorium in the UCI Student Center, 'Sounds for Syria' is free, but donations of $5 per student
and $10 per non-student are strongly suggested. Organizers note that “all proceeds of this fundraiser will be
directed to the UNHCR, a branch of the United Nations Refugee Agency
that is solely dedicated to helping provide the Syrian refugees in
Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon with shelter, food, protection, and other
forms of humanitarian aid.”
The event will also include a panel featuring Maytha Alhassen, a Ph.D. fellow from USC and Faisal Attrache, a UCLA graduate who was in Syria when the conflict broke out. A silent auction is slated at 6 p.m. and members of Uncultivated Rabbits will provide spoken word before Offendum takes the stage.