They’re called migrants or refugees. Some call them terrorists or ISIS scum. I know them as Syrians fleeing for safety from an unrelenting war that has ravaged their country. Everything they knew and loved has been destroyed, shattered by bombs, tanks and guns. And for this we chastise them. We point the finger of self-serving shame and say go back to where you came from. They risk everything for safety and a chance at a new life. If any of us were in Syria, wouldn’t we do the same thing? Wouldn’t we?
Before 2011, Syrian children attended school. Teachers drilled them in subjects such as math, science, spelling, geography, and reading. Muslim children learned the Quran; Christians read the Bible. Men worked to support families. Some women held jobs outside the home; some did not. Young adults attended college studying for future careers. Despite hardships under a dictatorship, Syrian society functioned. Food and clothing were available in stores. Syrians relaxed on weekends in cafes or listening to music. Women dressed as they wished either in hijabs and abayas or in short sleeves and slacks. There were no morality police to enforce dress codes. Some Syrians have even had pets or cared about their environment. All that changed after the spring of 2011. The Arab spring brought down dictatorships in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen but Assad wouldn’t budge. How dare the Syrian people insult him by demanding change? Wasn’t his iron rule good enough for them? Assad reacted with a massive armed assault that citizens never thought possible. The rest of the world reacted in horror as Assad tortured and killed men, women and children. Bombs leveled cities leaving them in ruins. Tens of thousands of people died. Countless others were injured. Millions fled for safety to any nation took them. Many don’t want them. Some escape journeys led to death by the way. Now the lawless nation is further ripped apart by criminals, thugs, degenerates, murders and hoodlums who don’t even have a clue what they’re fighting. A few allege they are Muslims and claim part of Syria as a state. What rubbish. It’s all such a farce. They are not Muslims and cities are not states. Every day, foreign nations drop bombs to end the war and more innocent people are killed, The country spirals further out of control. There are no winners in Syria, just losers, the Syrian people who lost everything. Syrian refugee women are robbed of their dignity, having been raped by goons as they fled the country. Syrian women lose husbands because they either died in the war or disappeared. These are women who once woke up in the morning, showered and dressed, maybe even dabbed on make-up and spritzed on perfume, then sent their children to school. Syrian women cared for their families by cooking dinner, caring for elderly parents and prayed five times a day. They shared recipes with their neighbors for baklava or hummus. Now they scrape by, begging on the streets of foreign countries. Maybe they married teenage girls to strangers at 15 with the misguided belief this was a form of protection. Syrian men who once provided a steady income for families struggle to support them because other countries often don’t welcome Syrians. Jobs and housing are denied them. Once proud men are humiliated and shamed to ask for a handout even when their children are cold and hungry. And the children, pity the children. If they’re lucky they attend school, but for the rest what can they do? Many work in the fields picking vegetables. Others dig through garbage for food to eat. They are a lost generation, uneducated and misguided. Many are without parents who were killed or abducting during the war.
Millions of Syrians remain, unable or unwilling to leave. What will happen to them? What does the future hold? Danger, starvation, death? Pray for their safety. That’s about all we can do. Their own government surely isn’t concerned.
One day the horrific violence will end. What happens next? Who pays to rebuild the shattered, torn apart nation? Will Syrians scattered around the world feel safe to return? Syria will never be the same. Never. Nothing can bring back the dead. Nothing can replace the memories of good times that families and friends once shared. What’s the future like? Only God knows. And only mankind can figure this out.
More troublesome is that Syria far from alone. There are more countries like Syria. Take Iraq for example. The unwise and immoral American invasion of Iraq devastated that country. Hussein was a harsh, iron fisted dictator who was merciless to his own people but it was up to the Iraqi’s to topple him, not the US. Now look at Iraq. Is it any wonder why it’s crumbling? Is anyone surprised there are so many Iraqi’s desperate to leave? I can name other nations too with significant internal strife but the list goes on. It’s too numerous to get into. Who is to blame for hatred, violence and unrest? Everyone plays a role. No one country or religion is exempt. How does it end? There are no easy answers and surely I don’t have them all. But strong leadership at the top is a start. Electing a president or prime minister who fosters unity rather than bitterness and hatred is a good place to begin. A leader like Donald Trump would be a monstrous blow to a united America and the nations who depend on us. He hasn’t a clue how to bring people together. He is divisive, corrosive and crude. A wise leader encourages harmony, the greater good. We all share the same planet. There is no plan B. Our children deserve better. They depend on us for comfort, safety and peace. So far, we’ve failed to deliver. Isn’t it time we get it right before it’s too late? We’ve already failed mother nature and animal species have been hunted to extinction. Only we can save ourselves. Hate should never win. I hope it never does.