Stories From Syria – A collaboration between The Finnish Evangelic Lutheran Mission & MEFA Festival
The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) is the main partner of this year’s MEFA Festival. Together, we are telling Stories from Syria – a theme that will make the audience become familiar with Syrian films and art emerging from the time before and after the conflict. Along a diverse range of films, a panel discussion will also be held, focusing on Syrian civilians and their survival methods. The female documentarist Yasmin Fedda will also be sharing her own stories after her two film screenings.
On Friday 16th October FELM and MEFA join hands with Anna Lindh Foundation in organizing the big Hib Hob concert held in Ääniwalli. For the first time the Syrian-American hip hop artist Omar Offendum and the Syrian electro-wizard Hello Psychaleppo will be performing alongside the Finnish rapper Paleface and DJ Mista Tibbz. A part of the ticket revenues will be donated to FELM’s peace work in Syria.
Together with its local partners, FELM strengthens the capacity and networking of local grassroots level peace actors, who are working under difficult conditions inside Syria, and supports the dialogue between the parties to reach peace.
“Strengthening of the grassroots structures and trust between the parties is necessary, so that in the future implementing a peace agreement in Syria would be possible and lasting”, says Kristiina Rintakoski, FELM’s head of advocacy.
One objective of this project is to influence the international community and its policy on Syria. FELM and its partners work in close collaboration with the European Union and the United Nations Special Envoy on Syria, as well as with other UN organizations. The project produces research and reports on central processes and negotiation points supporting the peace solution in Syria on such topics as developing the local government, the impact of the war economy on the crisis and development aid’s role on peace building. The project gives a voice to the Syrians and their thoughts on peace, humanity and the future. Hence, on of the aims of “Stories From Syria” is to activate artists, culture producers and media by distributing messages of peace.
The war in Syria is now going on in its fifth year and has turned nearly half of Syria’s 23 million population into refugees. Over four million has sought safety in the neighboring countries and Europe, while over seven million people are internally displaced inside Syria. Over 200 000 persons have lost their lives in the conflict. Over 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.