You probably saw the photographs of Aylan Kurdi, the child who drowned in the Mediterranean after fleeing the violence in Syria, and Omran Daqneesh, who was pulled out of the rubble after an airstrike destroyed his home in Aleppo. These photographs woke us up to the violence in Syria and the danger posed to those seeking to flee, but they did not seem to lead to a sufficient international response to deal with the current unrest and displacement.
Pseudoinefficacy is the idea that people are less willing to help one person when they are made aware of the broader scope of people in need. Pseudoinefficacy may be a reason why the international community has failed to address the war in Syria. The problem seems so large, so complicated, that it is easy to believe there is nothing one person can do. This is a fallacy, because individual acts can make a difference.
Jesselyn Cook of The Huffington Post recently published an essay titled “Outraged By What’s Happening in Syria? Here’s What You Can Do.” The essay details several ways that you can help the Syrian people. They include:
- Donate and volunteer to an organization that assists those displaced by violence. Cook directs our attention to the Charity Navigator, on online tool that evaluates charitable groups and offers a list of excellent charities involved in Syria.
- Demand action from your elected representatives.
- Share information about the conflict on social media. The more attention that is brought to the issue, the more likely it is that individuals and governments will take action.
No matter how large a problem seems, there is always something you can do to help. People displaced by violence in Syria should not be forgotten.