Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Angels, Aleppo and Appreciation
Today has been a game of two halves - two polar opposites of emotion. I went to bed last night consuming the news coming out of Aleppo and as my head hit the pillow, tears rolled down my cheeks. With each new tweet the horrors unfolded...medics being murdered, those loyal servants to their people who have worked tirelessly to protect & mend their fellow human beings, women and children reportedly being executed on sight and hundreds of men missing. I watched videos of Syrians begging, yes begging, for international support, for salvation, for our aid. This is not new - they have been calling more intensely on us for several months now but government after government around the world have put their hands over their ears and eyes. Members of the public who have become so used to these images, Tim Farron described it as 'compassion fatigue', have become beguiled by fanatics telling us these children, these families needing our help are terrorists wanting to harm us.
I can openly admit that I have become somewhat obsessed with Syria, with Aleppo. I feel no shame in that - my obsession comes from a place of disbelief that we have not helped, that genocide is taking place yet we, humanity, has become so isolationist, so self absorbed that we have idly sat back and allowed this massacre come to pass.
This morning as I brushed my eldest daughter's hair, I tried to imagine what my fellow parents were enduring in Aleppo. With each brushstroke I pictured the devastation of not being able to protect your child, knowing that your life was likely to be lost and I wondered the fury that must be racing through their veins knowing the whole world knows what is happening and is simply ignoring it. As we walked to school I felt a sense of both sadness and appreciation. Sadness at being so utterly redundant to help, so pathetically incapable of making a difference. Appreciation that we were free and safe to live life - to criticise our government without fear of reprisal, to question decisions, to walk in our town without threat of violence. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt at that feeling - why should some of us be lucky and some not.
I then attended my youngest daughter's first Nativity...it was a beautiful cohesion of shambolic loveliness. Little people singing, dancing, forgetting their lines, pulling their skirts up over their heads and yet it was entirely peaceful. As I watched Bean, again I felt total appreciation for seeing her fulfilling the role of angel. Three years ago, I wondered if my little baby who was skin and bone, floppy and desperately unwell, would make it to her first birthday, let alone the joy of her first show. As that sense of gratitude washed through me and I listened to the Priest's words about reminding ourselves to be kind, to care for others and protect one another, I felt both hope and despair. Hope that Bean had achieved so much and despair of the world she was growing into.
The juxtaposition of those emotions reminded me to never stop thinking of those people in Aleppo, to not remain silent & pretend it isn't happening. To shout from the rooftops that we must do more to be kind, to care for, to protect. I've lost my faith in God, in fact I'm very angry with him, but I do hope that the messages I heard today disseminate. For every awful atrocity that we hear of, it is a scar on humanity. It should hurt every single one of us because the day it doesn't, we are truly lost. With every cruel act we are consistently seeing both the negligence & then the beauty of mankind. Men and women running to help, people donating time, money, possessions to those in need. If that behaviour, that spirit, could be channeled up to government what a difference we could actually make.