Banksy Leads ‘#WithSyria’ Effort for Crisis Action

By Erik Oster Comment


Banksy is leading the way on a new campaign called “#WithSyria,” re-working his iconic “Girl with a Red Balloon” image for a campaign timed to coincide with the third anniversary of the brutal conflict on March 15th.

“Banksy’s image and its red balloon inspires the central theme for all communications and activity across all communications across film, social, online, live and PR” aspects of the campaign, “based on a strategy developed by Sunshine, Freuds, Global Cause Consultancy and Chappell Productions and creatively led by Sunshine.” At the center of the campaign is “#WithSyria,” an animation narrated by actor Idris Elba (who you may know as “Stringer” Bell from The Wire) and featuring exclusive music from Elbow, the Britrock vets who donated their song “The Blanket of Night” for the soundtrack. The animation, created and written by Sunshine, directed and produced by RSA Films, can be seen on the #WithSyria site here. The film, which we believe is worth a view, will be shown across the globe everywhere from an inflatable cinema in Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan to the big screen in Times Square.”

The huge effort includes “a  coalition  of  115  humanitarian  and  human rights  groups  from  24  countries” calling for action to ensure Syrians (especially civilians in areas under siege) receive the aid they desperately need, and also “for the voices of ordinary Syrians to be heard and heeded in reconvened peace talks” so that this can be the last anniversary of bloodshed in Syria.\

As Justin Forsyth, CEO  of Save the Children explains, “For  three  years  Syria’s children  have  endured  unacceptable  suffering…Doctors  that  we  work  with  on  the  ground  have told us children are having limbs amputated because basic antibiotics  for less  serious  wounds  are  not  available  and  newborn  babies  are  dying  in incubators  due  to  frequent  power  cuts. Full  humanitarian  access  would help injured and sick children receive the medical care that they need.”

To show that they are “#WithSyria,” thousands of people will attend candlelight vigils held in over 40 countries, starting tonight, with many recreating Banksy’s image by releasing red balloons as a show of solidarity. A Banksy light projection will also factor into many of the vigils, and the Lincoln Memorial, Eiffel Tower, and Nelson’s Column will be lit up in a message of hope, supported by Chappell Productions. A social media campaign includes international celebrities uploading pictures of themselves with red balloons accompanied by the hashtag #WithSyria.

This campaign comes on the heels of Don’t Panic’s viral PSA for Save the Children UK’s initiative supporting child victims in Syria, which, as you may remember, we covered last week. We’ve included it after the jump as a refresher. For more on the #WithSyria campaign and how you can show your support, head on over to