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 withsyria.com.