It might seem like everyone on Game of Thrones is constantly in danger or coming close to being killed, but a new video featuring the cast is reminding viewers that, for Syrian refugees, war and the threat of violence isn’t something that ends when they turn off their television sets. In the clip supporting the partnership between HBO and the nonprofit humanitarian aid association International Rescue Committee, the Game of Thrones cast advocates for Syrian refugees by highlighting the plight of millions of men, women, and children throughout the Middle East, as they fight to escape their war-torn countries. According to Entertainment Weekly, the cast is encouraging people to donate to the IRC’s “Rescue Has No Boundaries” campaign using the hashtag #RealmToTheRescue, in an effort to help some of the millions of individuals affected by the Syrian refugee crisis.
A number of GOT cast members, including Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Sophie Turner appear in the clip, according to Rolling Stone. Fans of the show can donate to the IRC directly through rescue.org, or through a special Omaze site, where supporters have the opportunity to win a chance to attend the Game of Thrones Season 6 premiere. The site also offers other GOT-themed perks for different donation levels, like limited-edition t-shirts, replicas of Arya Stark’s Sword "Needle," and a number of autographed items.
Looking past the cast’s star power, it’s easy to see why the effort to help is so important. According to Rescue.org’s Rescue Has No Boundaries site, “an average of 50 Syrian families are forced to flee their homes every hour,” although “only 17,000 of 4 million” refugees have actually been resettled in other countries. Part of the reason is because the number of refugees is so great, and the circumstances surrounding aid are so complex. As a result, the IRC’s approach has a number of aspects, including,
Helping those currently inside of Syria; assisting those in neighboring countries like Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq; providing assistance in Greece and Serbia, along the main refugee transit route into Europe; and in the United States, to resettle refugees from the Middle East and around the world.
The issue of refugee resettlement and foreign aid has been a much-debated topic in the U.S., largely fueled by concerns over national security. According to the New York Times, at least 28 U.S. governors opposed the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States following the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, and countries like Turkey and Germany who have allowed large numbers of refugees to be resettled have done so amidst significant debate and criticism.
But, concerns for the refugees are also pressing, with a recent UNICEF report noting that one in three Syrian children have never known life without war, according to Yahoo. Despite political opinions, it’s important to note that Syrian refugees are people just like us, with lives and families and the desperate desire to protect themselves and those they love from harm — and the GOT cast reminds viewers of that in the video, asking, “What would you do to protect your life, your family, your future?” It’s an important question, after all, as it is far too easy to forget what’s really happening, just because it isn’t happening here.
Donations to the IRC campaign can be made here.