The corona crisis affects everything and everyone, including PAX’s peace work. Anna Timmerman, our General Director, on the consequences of the pandemic: “PAX members continue to fight for those living in conflict countries.”
I joined PAX a little over two months ago. I did not expect to have to do that work from home, but now we are suddenly in the middle of the corona crisis. Like many, I try to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues via computer and telephone. Because our work continues, PAX continues. During this time when we are going through a major international crisis together, we can support each other. PAX staff and volunteers continue to work for peace. From our own homes, we keep in touch with our partners and friends all over the world.
A million Syrians are trapped in the northern province of Idlib, chased from their homes by bombing and fighting. They are trapped between armies and a closed Turkish border. PAX has been calling for attention for those refugees and earlier this year people donated more than 10,000 euro’s for acute aid to our partners. In Greece, refugees live in camps that are far too small, they have nowhere to go to and are at great risk of becoming infected with the corona virus. Medical care is inadequate. PAX, together with seven aid organizations, urged Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, as well as his European colleagues, to evacuate the refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos.
The peace activities of many of our partners are under threat. It is no longer possible to get together physically. At the same time, authoritarian regimes see an opportunity to supress the critical voices of citizens and journalists and to limit privacy. We are in constant contact with our many local partners. Together we work on alternative ways to keep working for peace. In Colombia, in South Sudan, in Iraq… we continue, and we are hopeful. That is really important. As our partner and friend Ahmed in Syria tells all the Dutch people: “Stay hopeful. That is what always kept me going. The best cure for fear is hope.”
Go in peace.
Look after one another.
We’re all in this together.
With warm regards,
General Director PAX