It was an average Tuesday for most Americans; we woke up to go to work, sat at our desks, and drunk our coffee. That same day in Aleppo, a mother hid in her home, praying that the army doesn’t storm in and murder her children and husband. As she sat there, her daughter takes her phone and types:
“My name is Bana, I’m seven years old. I am talking to the world now from East #Aleppo. This is my last moment to live or die- Bana”
Hours go by and no tweets from Bana, as the world awaits to hear whether she is alive or dead. Thousands upon thousands of Syrians in Aleppo posted similar messages in a heartbreaking barrage of social media updates.
Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the United Nations human rights council reported pro-government forces had killed at least 82 civilians, entering homes and killing people, including women and children.
According to more reports submitted by the U.N, the streets in Aleppo are filled with bodies; you read that right. In 2016, we live in a world where people are massacred, and no one can muster up the courage to stand against the atrocities happening in Aleppo.
We sat in history classes that taught us over and over again that the previous generations failed the Jews, failed the Armenians, failed African Americans, failed Native Americans – and the list goes on. We sat in classrooms that informed us that we are smarter and wiser than these generations. That we have learned.
But the truth is, we have learned nothing. The people of Aleppo are crying out for help, but what they have gotten is pure silence from the rest of the world.We sat in classrooms that informed us we were wiser than our predecessors. Click To Tweet
Abdulkafi Alhamdo, a father, husband, and teacher from Aleppo, posted a video asking the world to stop the destruction of Aleppo. He sat in a corner, in the rain, recording what he presumed was last message. ” I hope you can do something to stop the expected massacre,” he says. He continues, “I don’t believe anymore in the international community…I hope you can remember us.”
We are no better than our predecessors. We have failed the Syrian people, time and time again.
On December 13th, 2016, we watched as children were killed on the streets of Aleppo, and we witnessed their last messages to the world. Today, fighting is still taking place, despite a brokered ceasefire by Turkey and Russia.
This is not the first time Syrians have seen the strain of horrific bloodshed. 34 years ago, Hafez Assad stormed Hama after a Muslim Brotherhood uprising. The town was blocked off by Assad forces for 27 days. No one came in, and no one came out. Syrian human rights committee reported between 25,000-40,000 people were massacred.
I have stepped on the grounds of Syria before, I have seen the mountains, and I have roamed its cities. I sit here and watch Aleppo crumble; I watch its people mercilessly get killed, and its foundations tumble brick by brick. The beautiful Syria I had once known is no more, and it’s people have paid the price. The people of Syria continue to suffer, as I sit here overseas and I feel guilt in the pit of my stomach.I have roamed the mountains and cities of Syria, and now I'm watching them crumble. Click To Tweet
Since the beginning of the war, images have surfaced of young children slaughtered on the streets of Syria. We had gasped, shared, and cried with them. But enough is enough.
We must DEMAND our government speak up; we must DEMAND that our government protect humanity. Our countries are not made just to make money and sit comfortably. We have a voice, and we must call on our leaders to action.
Reach out to your local congressperson and urge them to do something about the Syrian conflict. Having massive amounts of people reaching out will bring this conflict to the top of our concerns, this will bring a voice to the issue at hand and will force our government to look into the conflict and potential war crimes committed.The beautiful Syria I had once known is no more, and its people have paid the price. Click To Tweet
You can also bring this issue to light by bringing it to the streets – protesting is an effective way to catch not only the media’s attention but national attention. Protesting peacefully is a way to have your voice be heard and urge communities to pay attention. As we learned from the DAPL protests, it works, and issues can be solved if there is persistence.
You can also donate to the people of Aleppo; there are charities supplying the Syrian people with food, clothing and other items that are necessary for survival, especially with the winter bestowing upon us.
It is not too late to do something, to reach out, to help out. We can change the course of this destructive path.
I sit here praying for the people of Aleppo. I am sorry we have failed you, and I am sorry this is what it has come to. I am sorry that we are no better than our past.
History has not shaped us; it has taught us nothing, we have only learned how to ignore the bloodshed.
UPDATE: A cease-fire agreement has been reached as of 6:56 p.m, December 13th. Russians U.N ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, has announced a cease-fire between the opposition forces and Assad’s forces. Families in Aleppo will be evacuated on buses Wednesday at 5 a.m.
UPDATE: Cease-fire agreement falls through, reports show that shelling is continued in Aleppo. 4:36 P.M. 12/14/2016
UPDATE: New cease-fire plan brokered by Russia and Turkey, 12/29/2016