Kaitlin Thorp was walking through Turlington Plaza when she stopped at a map and tried to locate Syria. She put her small pin on the country that sits between Turkey and Iraq.
Thorp was one of about 30 people who put pins on the map, with most generally hovering in the Middle East. But a few were pinned farther away such as in Florida and near India. The event, “Pin Syria on a Map,” was held for the first time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday by the student organization as part of UF’s second-annual Syria Solidarity Week, said Mariam Elsafty, vice president of Students Organize for Syria.
The week is a national effort dedicated to raising awareness about the Syrian crisis because Thursday marks the seven-year anniversary of the Syrian revolution, Elsafty said.
“I feel like these days a lot of people have a lot of things to say about Syria, but honestly some people don’t even know where to locate it on a map,” the 19-year-old UF biology sophomore said.
She said it brings it back to the basics and normalizes Syria to people, encouraging them to look into its history and read more about it.
“If you can’t get yourself to understand something as basic as where a country is located in a region, then you can’t get yourself to understand the bigger and deeper complicated issues at hand,” Elsafty said.
Thorp, 18, said she stopped by because she is really passionate about the Middle East. The UF wildlife ecology and conservation freshman said the United States should be doing more humanitarian efforts to help Syrians who are suffering and have no control over their situations.
If people are more aware of where countries that are always seen in the headlines are, the people that come from there, their cultures and their values, it makes it more real, Thorp said.
“We have more of a reason to take action and try to help these people if we are aware of where they live and that they are humans and not just people we see on the news,” she said.
- Syria 101: An event 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Reitz Room 2360 will consist of a presentation, a guest speaker who will join through Skype and a candlelit vigil at about 7:35 p.m.
- "I stand with Syria”: A silent flash mob 12:35 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. Friday on Turlington.
Kaitlin Thorp, an 18-year-old UF wildlife ecology and conservation freshman, stopped by Turlington Plaza on Wednesday morning to participate in Pin Syria on a Map, an event put on by Students Organize for Syria.