Karam's tribute to Syrian hero, Raed Fares

Yesterday, on November 23rd, the world lost a true hero and we lost a dear friend. Raed Faris, the brilliant Syrian activist was brutally assassinated by gunmen along with his friend and colleague, photographer Hamoud Junaid in their home, Kafranbel, Idlib.

Raed was one of Syria’s most prominent activists who organized peaceful protests in Kafranbel with cartoons and banners that often went viral and were shared by media outlets and people across the world. He founded innovative civil society institutions like Radio Fresh and education and development centers for children and women in the town.

Kafranbel’s sophisticated, multilingual banners and cartoons were known for their wit and sharp sarcasm as they targeted the Syrian regime as well as the extremists for the suffering of the Syrian people. The banners also aimed at the international community for its complicit silence. The messages also often were commentary on current international events (like the Boston Marathon bombing) and laced with pop culture references.

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In the summer of 2013, Raed was one of our first mentors in the Atmeh IDP Camp where we held our very first Innovative Education mission. Raed taught a workshop to elementary children on how to make a banner that carried an effective message. He believed we could fight for justice with our pens and words. He believed that all human beings deserve to live in freedom and dignity, including the Syrian people.

Our team is devastated at the loss of our friends. We extend our deepest condolences to Raed and Hamoud’s families, to their beloved Kafranbel, and to the Syrian people.

Raed often said, “The revolution is an idea, and ideas cannot be killed.” We believe that Raed himself not only represented an idea, but was an icon, and icons also cannot be killed. They live on within our actions and our words.

At Karam Foundation, we honor Raed’s life and work. We will continue to do so as we invest in Syrian youth and build future leaders who will continue his legacy of pursuing justice, freedom, and dignity through creativity, innovation, and community.

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