Boxing in the streets of Syria

OK Fighter,

It’s been a long time in production but here it is – the video that I’ve been yearning to share with you since returning from our peace mission, entitled “Boxing in the Streets of Syria”

Syria deserves peace
boxing in the streets of Homs
boxing in the streets of Latakia
Boxing with refugees from Yarmouk
Boxing with refugees from Yarmouk

As you can see from above, Fighting Father Denning also took some wonderful still shots of the action but it’s his video I’m most keen to see circulated.

My plan is to use this video as the basis of our recruitment drive to see if we can capture the imagination of some high-profile boxers from Australia and from around the world – capture their imagination to the extent that they will be drawn to join us in running boxing-training camps for the young people of Syria! 🙂

As you’ll see from the video, we were very well received by the Syrian people, and the children of Syria were enthusiastic beyond words! Sol Egberime – Australia’s greatest Junior Welterweight fighter – was an absolute natural with these young people. At one point, as we finished a session with a group of boys in Latakia and got back into our bus, the entire troop of kids followed the bus chanting “Solomon, Solomon …”, which brought our young champion to tears!

Will you do me a favour please and share this video with everybody you know? The persons we are most hoping to reach are high-profile boxers, but even if you don’t know any fighters at all, it may be that some of those you send it to will know some boxers and will pass it on.

Boxing in the Streets of Syria

My hope and prayer is that this video will generate sufficient interest such that we can head back to Syria during their school holidays and spread some more happiness and hope amongst these young people who have seen so little joy in recent years.

So please share the video. I’ll be developing a dedicated site for it very soon to make this easier. In the meantime simply direct people to this blog post, and please add a prayer that people will be moved to join us in doing something for the young people of Syria.

Yours in the Good Fight,


P.S. And if you’re moved to join us on our next mission to Syria yourself, just let me know. 🙂

P.P.S. Support the work of the Fighting Fathers by joining our online community at It only costs you $10/month and the first month is free.


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Out of the Ashes – a New Youth and Community Centre!

Hi Fighter,

I had been planning on sending you another piece on Syria. I still have much to debrief from our recent peace pilgrimage, including some rather amazing pics and video material. Even so,  I couldn’t resist updating you on the fact that our local Council approved our Development Application on Tuesday night for the building of our church’s new Youth and Community Centre!

Trinity's shortly before the fire
An unforgettable night!
An unforgettable night!
The day after
The day after
An artists rendition of the new Trinity's Youth and Community Centre
An artists rendition of the new Trinity's Youth and Community Centre


It was just over a year ago when that magnificent old building went up in flames! What a night that was!  You can see my blog post from the day after if you want to relive it with me.

The culprit (well known to all of us here) still hasn’t been apprehended. From all reports he is still skulking around not too far from here and has thus far survived an ongoing career in petty crime. The rest of us have moved on. We have levelled the old site, chosen our architect, drawn up our plans, done all our costings and now we are ready to build!

Those who have never had to put together a Development Application might have little appreciation of the extraordinary amount of time and energy that it takes to get to this stage of the building process. Hats off to the Wardens of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill and all who have helped to get us safely this far! 🙂

As to when we turn the first sod of earth on the new development, I’m not sure. Whenever it happens though we will be inviting our friends from Marrickville Council to be involved. The Council not only unanimously approved our application but they also waived their normal Council fee of just under $18,000.

Some suggested that the Council members were moved by my three-minute speech in support of the DA (which you can read here if you’re really keen). I suspect we would have achieved the same result even if I hadn’t shown up to the meeting as it wasn’t me the Council were supporting but the youth of Dulwich Hill!

We’ve been doing what we do best for more than 20 years now and the runs are on the board. It’s always been a joint effort between the church, the Council and supportive businesses, schools, and individuals across the community. This latest gesture of support from Council bodes well for our ongoing partnership.

Sermon Time

And while I’ve got your attention I’ll throw in a sermon! 😉

I was quite pleased with this one. It’s entitled “Suffering does not make a person more religious”, which is a variation on something said by my friend Morde Vanunu many years ago – that prison does not make a man more religious.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Morde lately as it’s now been ten years since his ‘release’ from Ashkelon Prison in Israel, where he served an 18-year sentence (including 11.5 years in solitary) for telling the world about Israel’s hidden arsenal of nuclear weapons (you can read more about Morde here).

Morde is one of humanity’s great whistle-blowers. He blazed a trail that other great men have followed – Private Manning, Ed Snowden, and Australia’s own Julian Assange! Each are men of courage an integrity, willing to risk their lives for the sake of truth.

Anyway, truth-telling isn’t really the theme of this sermon. Suffering is, and while some people will tell you that suffering drives people to religion, my thesis here is that the opposite can also be true! Intense suffering can destroy a person’s faith.

I wont’ say more now. Listen to the sermon and leave your comment below.

OK Fighter, expect that Syria update from me real soon.

Until then, I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. Support the work of the Fighting Fathers by joining our online community at It only costs you $10/month and the first month is free.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Peace Pilgrimage to Syria – peace work in Iran

Hi Fighter,

Once again it’s been too long since I’ve posted. 🙁

I’m back in Oz now, well ensconced with my family. Even so, a large part of my heart remains in Syria. So many memories and images continue to turn over in my mind.
Not all of them are good but all are full of life and colour.

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted all the pics and videos from our pilgrimage up here yet. That’s partly because I’ve been under the gun since I got back. It’s also because we’ve been waiting to see whether any TV stations are going to screen our footage. Things are still unclear but we know that they won’t screen our material if we’ve already publicly released it. My plan is to share the images of Sol and me boxing with kids in the streets of Syria next week if we haven’t heard from them.

In the meantime I thought I’d publish a series of images and videos that won’t be of interest to the networks as they concern our week in Iran during which we made our preparations. We secured the medicines and toys we were taking with us and we met with some wonderful Iranian peace activists, many of whom went on to join us in Syria..

Meet the team - Sam and Ulrike
Meet the team - Mairead, Ulrike and Carmel
Meet the team - Denning
Meet the team - Dave and Mohamed Reva
Meet the team - Roohulla
Meet the team - John
Meet the team - Mairead and Solomon
Meet the team - Dave & Ali
Meet the team
Meet the team

Four videos are thumbnailed below. Just click one to watch it.

  1. The first video is a three-minute offering from our man, Denning. It’s an overview of the week that is as brief as it is artistic. 🙂
  2. The second is a Press TV report on the delegation. We actually received a lot of media attention. Unfortunately it was all from Iranian or Syrian media.
  3. The third is a talk I gave on “the role of religions in bringing peace” in Qom. Denning has edited it down to 3 minutes which is about as long as I had to prepare it!
  4. The fourth is a wonderful 10-minute compilation of our time in Iran, put together by a wonderful young Iranian film-maker, Mehdi Khoshnejad.

The last of these videos is actually longer than the other three put together. Even so, it is worth watching. It features our time touring one of the ancient mosques in Esfahan wherein there is a special spot marked on the floor from which you can sing and somehow join in the chorus of your own echo!

Denning's Tehran video
Press TV report
Talk at the Armenian Church in Qom
Mehdi Khoshnejad's video

Let me end today by sharing with you the wonderful way in which I met my friend Mohamed Reva (featured in one of the pics up the top).

We were in Tehran, gathered together for a delegates meeting in the lobby of our hotel. I hadn’t met Sheikh Mohamed Reva at that point but he was a part of the gathering.

After the meeting he came across the room and grabbed my hand enthusiastically. “My name is Mohamed Reva”, he said. “I knew you were a special person the first moment I saw you. I am very keen to meet you.”

“Brother”, I said, “I am not special. It is simply the Spirit of God in you recognising the Spirit of God in me. We were connected in this way long before we met.” Mohamed smiled and nodded.

In some ways that experience summed up my pilgrimage to Iran and Syria this time. We generally think of a pilgrimage as a journey that leads to a destination of great spiritual significance. My experience was that wherever I went I found the Spirit of God already there to welcome me! What a wonderful privilege! 🙂

I’ll be back with you again next week.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. If you’d like to see what I’m writing, I’ve just published a new article on entitled, Why the Syrian rebellion may soon collapse like a house of cards!” I know that most commentators are convinced that the warring in Syria will go on and on with no near end in sight. I am far more optimistic. 🙂

P.P.S. Support the work of the Fighting Fathers by joining our online community at It only costs you $10/month and the first month is free.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four