Sunday, March 24, 2019

Syrian White Helmet Rescue Workers


This was my closing post for the ninth annual Painting Challenge. I wanted to return to our overarching theme of 'Fellowship' and decided to do a small vignette honouring a group of people whose selfless efforts I've admired for several years now: the Syrian White Helmets.




As many of you know the White Helmets are a group of Syrian volunteers whose mandate is to provide medical assistance, urban search and rescue, civilian evacuation, and essential service delivery to areas caught within their nation's civil war. It is reported that since they were formed more than 5 years ago the White Helmets have saved over 100,000 lives, while losing over 200 of their own people in the process. In 2016 the group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and have subsequently been awarded numerous international accolades for their humanitarian work.


Sadly, in this politically charged region of the world, there is an active smear campaign levelled at the White Helmets, trying to besmirch and belittle what they have done for their people. Personally I think this is reprehensible, but these are the times we live in and we all have to do our bit to rise above it and fight these injustices when and where we can. 

I'm proud to say that this past summer the Canadian government was instrumental in organising the evacuation of over 400 White Helmets and their families from Syria before forces loyal to the present regime could arrest them for supposed crimes against the state. Many of those evacuated have been resettled here in Canada, along with other participating countries. For many of them it has been a heart-wrenching experience, having to flee their homeland and loved ones to live in a far away, alien place. I am happy to have them here in a safe haven, but I hope there comes a day when these brave people can freely and safely choose to either return to Syria, or remain with us as new Canadians.


As you can imagine, there are no White Helmet figures on the market, so I took a shot of bodging my own. 

As they wear a distinctive cropped helmet, which looks vaguely similar to a German fallshirmjaeger helmet, I used that as a basis to work from. 



With this in mind, I found a trio of 20mm German paratrooper command figures tucked away in my collection, repositioned their arms and heads and carefully cut and filed away their equipment to look more like the rescue garb the White Helmets wore. 

I then carved a disc of high density blue insulation, affixed it to a base, added rubble and wreckage, and then arranged the figures to depict them having just found some survivors buried in the rubble. Admittedly, it's not perfect, but the overall silhouette seems to work to my eyes. I hope it does to yours as well.



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Thanks for dropping in for a visit. I hope you all have a great upcoming week!

Curt

7 comments:

  1. Excellent! And very original.

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  2. Very evocative! Wonderful basing and painting.

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