Syrian Crisis – How to help

As of today, approximately 12 million Syrians have been displaced by the conflict. More than half of these are under the age of 18.

It’s too late to help Alan Kurdi (initially reported as Aylan Kurdi), but together we can prevent the same fate from happening to other children like him. One of some ways to do it is by supporting  these charities below.

I try my best to summarize what these charities are doing — they differ in their focuses, priorities, scopes and geographic reach — and provide direct links to their donation pages to help you in your consideration.

Thank you ,


: : :

  • Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: Operates ‘search and rescue’ in the Mediterranean Sea to save people from deaths at sea.
  • International Rescue Committee (click here US & Canada) and here for international) : Focuses on emergency aids -medical care, clean water, education, women’s protection services and other vital aid – in Greece, where thousands of displaced Syrians are arriving each day.
  • Mercy Corps: Provides life saving aids: clean water, sanitation services, temporary shelter and food.
  • Save the Children: Provides nutritious food for Syrian kids and supports education in Syrian refugee camps.
  • CARE: Provides food and essential household items to displaced Syrians in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen and inside Syria.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (click here for US, here for Canada, and here for other countries): Provides basic and necessary humanitarian aid for displaced Syrians and assists the most vulnerable ones with cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing.
  • Unicef: Delivers vaccines (including immunization for children), clothes, food, and access to safe drinking water as well as provides education for children in Syria and Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and other countries.
  • Muslim Aid: Provides temporary shelters, blankets & sanitary items, and medical care to displaced Syrians in neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon.
  • Islamic Relief USA: Provides food, hygiene items, light blankets and winter kits, and medical treatments and supplies in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
  • World Food Programme: Focuses on providing food for millions of displaced Syrians all over the world.
  • Aylan Kurdi & Syria’s Child Victims of War: Provides life saving, medical & general aid to the most vulnerable people inside Syria.
  • Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity: Provides basic supplies – food, clean water, hygiene items, tents, clothes, blankets, etc – for diplaced Syrians who are stranded in Calais.
  • Refugee Crisis on Greek Islands: Provides supplies — tents, clothing, food, diapers, sanitary equipment and anything else immediately needed by the refugees on the ground — for about 10,000 displaced Syrians in Lesvos.
  • Help for Kos Refugees: Provides basic essential, especially water, food, nappies, baby milk and sanitary items for displaced Syrians in Kos (there’re thousands of them).
  • Education for Urban Refugees (Small Project Istanbul): Provides access to supplemental education for displaced Syrian children and families in Turkey.

September 30th: Images and Realities of Violence


It was around this time thirty one year ago, in 1984. That day was one of the most historical days of my childhood. It was a cinema day! And it made me nervous, scared, and excited at the same time. The reason for the mixed feelings was two folds. First, I never went to the cinema before because my religiously conservative parents forbade us, my siblings and I, from watching movies in the cinema. Second, this was a movie about what one social science teacher called ‘the darkest chapter’ in the history of the nation. Even though my parents didn’t like the fact that their kids would be in a ‘sinful’ cinema and to pay for it, , they let my two little siblings and I go. They had no choice as it was mandatory for all kids. The government had forced schools to make students see the film during school hours.

Continue reading September 30th: Images and Realities of Violence

[#ThrowbackThursday] Memorable years

‪#‎throwbackThursday‬ ‪#‎Kamisnostalgis‬ (Indonesian translation is below)

Early this year, in a conference where I presented a keynote address, a young researcher approached me and said,”Professor Lim, I’m a fan. I read every single work you have published, including the very old one from a long time ago.” I was flattered but also felt like a 100 year-old professor.

I smiled and said, “Thank you, that’s very nice of you. Oh… the very old one from a long time ago? Was it published in 19th century?” Continue reading [#ThrowbackThursday] Memorable years

Wiji Thukul: What’s the point?

What’s the point of being knowledgable
If only used to deceive
What’s the point of having read many books
If you never break the silence
(an excerpt from “What’s the point”, a poem by Wiji Thukul*)

Original version (Indonesian):
Apa gunanya punya ilmu tinggi
Kalau hanya untuk mengibuli
Apa gunanya banyak baca buku
Kalau mulut kau bungkam melulu
(nukilan dari “Apa guna”, puisi oleh Wiji Thukul)

Written by someone who never went to college, this message rings true especially to some of us who enjoyed privileged access to higher education.

The message also brings a validation for some of us, who have already begun to break the silence of the night and found the calling to speak is often marred with agony.

We must speak. With all knowledge and privileges we have, we must speak. We must speak to break the betrayal of our own silences. We must speak.

Today, August 26th, is the birthday of Wiji Thukul, an Indonesian poet and an activist who went missing in 1998 during the period of protests that led to the fall of the New Order regime. His poems are political, often critical of the Indonesian government (under Suharto) and the social conditions of the country. It’s suspected that he’s one of many anti-government protesters abducted by government forces.

Happy Birthday Wiji Thukul!
Thank you for your bravery and your unwavering quest for freedom and justice.


Continue reading Wiji Thukul: What’s the point?

[Book] Digital Activism in Asia Reader

The Centre for Internet and Society has just published a reader entitled “Digital Activism in Asia”. Edited by Shah, Sneha, and Chattapadhyay, the reader  combines stories in multiple forms, including academic essays (one of them is mine), case-studies to grey literature that reveals and points to the debates around digital activism that have emerged in this particular context.  The reader “attempts a crowd-sourced compilation that presents critical tools, organisations, theoretical concepts, political analyses, illustrative case-studies and annotations, that an emerging network of changemakers in Asia have identified as important in their own practices within their own contexts.” Continue reading [Book] Digital Activism in Asia Reader

The “Herrera” moment

with many thanks and congratulations to Juan Felipe Herrera...

let us gather in a flourishing way
en la luz y en la carne of our heart to toil
tranquilos in fields of blossoms
juntos to stretch los brazos
tranquilos with the rain en la mañana
temprana estrella on our forehead
cielo de calor and wisdom to meet us
where we toil siempre
in the garden of our struggle and joy
— an excerpt from “Let Us Gather in a Flourishing Way” by Juan Felipe Herrera

Tears were glistening in her eyes and spilling over to splash down her cheek. She turned her head to look at him, who apparently had already looked at her. She turned her eyes to his eyes. With a teardrop hidden in a corner of his eye, he reached out and gently touched her hand. His eyes were locked on hers.
Continue reading The “Herrera” moment

[TIPS] Handling Q&A session

My graduate students asked for some tips to handle conference’ Q&A session. Here are my answers. I find these useful not only for conferences, but also in everyday interactions.

1. When you think you really know the answer, wait 5 seconds before you say it. Sometimes you don’t really know whether you really know or just think you really know.
2. Avoid a ‘stupid’ moment: before reacting (negatively/harshly/carelessly/…), think of something stupid and don’t say it. Continue reading [TIPS] Handling Q&A session

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