Evacuation of Aleppo

It is, perhaps, the biggest humanitarian crisis on the globe today:  Aleppo.  Literally all civilians are being evacuated as I write this post.  Many residents are so angry at being forced to leave their homes that they are burning their belongings and even their homes.  Others are simply relieved to be getting out with their lives.

aleppoOn October 3rd I wrote a post titled Thoughts on Aleppo  which I hope you will take a minute to go back and read.  The post was a humanitarian, rather than a political one, as is today’s.  The politics in Aleppo are complex and frankly, it is a situation where there are no ‘good guys’.  The victims are the people.  The ordinary, everyday citizens trying to earn a living, protect and care for their children, and find a little joy in their lives.  People like you … me …

Once the most populated city in all of Syria, the pictures tell the story of what Aleppo is today, after five years of war between the Assad regime and various rebel factions.  Hospitals have been bombed repeatedly, U.N. aid convoys destroyed, and people are living without electricity, food or clean water.  Russia, the U.S., Turkey, Iran, and Syria have all been responsible for civilian deaths caused by bombing raids, chlorine gas attacks and ground fire.  Death toll estimates since 2011 vary, but most sources put the number between 400,000 – 470,000.  In 2011, at the beginning of the war, the population of Aleppo was 3.164 million.

aleppo-3.jpgAn earlier cease-fire agreement in order to evacuate civilians on Wednesday fell apart when Iranian airstrikes resumed throughout the day.  In the wee hours of the morning, a new cease-fire was agreed to, hence today’s evacuation efforts. The evacuation is being overseen by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Ambulances and buses will be working non-stop to evacuate the tens of thousands who are trapped in the city.  Will it be enough?  Will the cease-fire remain in place until all are evacuated?  Only time will tell.

I don’t know about you, dear readers, but when I read the stories like this one  , when I see the pictures of the mass devastation, when I think of people living without food or water, I feel guilty.  I feel guilty for complaining about the small things, like having to go out in the cold to go to the grocery store to buy food, or not being able to see well enough to read the label on a box of crackers.  I feel guilty for being in a nice warm home, with plenty of food to eat, warm clothing to wear, and comparatively no worries.

Ixmas-treen ten days, many around the world will celebrate Christmas, a traditionally Christian holiday, though these days it is celebrated by non-Christians as well.  It has become a holiday of excesses.  We buy an excess of gifts for loved ones (and sometimes those whom we don’t love), an excess of food, and excess of just about everything.  And we take it all for granted.  We celebrate for an entire month before December 25th, and we complain because we cannot find just the right gift for Uncle Harry, or because we must bake still more cookies for yet another office party.  We whine because “there is just so much to get done”.  Note that I use the word “we”.  Yes, I am as guilty of all the above as any.  And today, as I try to stay abreast of information coming out of Aleppo, as I hope that the cease-fire will hold, as I shed a tear for the people in Aleppo, that guilt settles heavily on my shoulders.

aleppo-4How can anyone read about this humanitarian crises, look at the pictures, and still say that we should reject all refugees from the Middle East?  There is not a single U.S. citizen who has ever lived in circumstances even close to those which the people of Aleppo have lived in since March 2011.  We in the U.S. have so much, yet we are unwilling, or afraid, to share it with these refugees?  During the past year, I have heard so many people claim that “we are a Christian nation”, and in the next breath say they want all refugees banned.  Is that not, perhaps, the ultimate oxymoron?

The purpose of this post?  I don’t really know.  I just know that I needed to somehow devote some time to realizing that we here in the U.S., and also in many other places around the globe, have so much for which to be thankful.  I felt a need to remember to be thankful that my family and loved ones are safe and sound.  My thoughts and hopes are with the people of Aleppo as they make the journey into yet another unknown life, hope that they will keep safe and find a path to a new life, a safer life, and a better life than they have known for the past five years.

tears

23 thoughts on “Evacuation of Aleppo

  1. good post. it occurred to me again today, watching the horror in Aleppo, that I for the life of me have no idea what the heck is going on there. My background as a Historian makes me suspicious ..
    I know Who is involved…civisns, rebels, ISIS, various militaries…Russia, Iran, Syria, the US. etc. but I dont know the Why of it. I guess I should do some research. Not sure who the bad guys are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, it is complex, and while I understand some, I am certainly no expert. I know that al-Assad has no compunction about murdering his own people, and Putin supports al-Assad against the rebels. My friends who survived 2 years of this war before coming to the U.S. as refugees tell me that the rebels and Assad’s army were both equally brutal and would sooner kill a civilian as look at them. It is a scary and sad way to live life.

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      • There has to be a purpose…even for a bloody war. A reason, perhaps…at least an excuse. One thing I have learned over the years is that facts are not always as they are related to us, and the accuracy of the details depend on WHO is telling the story. “We” have a stake in any world situation, and what we relate to our followers (and enemies I suppose) is 1) our point of view, and 2) the facts as we want them to be understood. A good little war-microcosm to study would be most any of the Cold War situations in Central America, where we simultaneously instigated and perpetrated relationships with some pretty bloody dictators…sometimes with them, sometimes against them. No one of sound mind goes around will-nilly killing innocents.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope there will be peace and happiness for the refugees wherever they go now. I hope they will find acceptance.
    I also hope in my vengeful heart that here will be payment made to Assad and to the rebels who have practised the killing of their own people, innocent men, women and children stuck in Aleppo with nowhere to go.I hope the Russians who came in and bombed the city while the innocent had no protection and who also attacked aid convoys never sleep at night again. I want payment for the Iran brigade who came in support of Assad knowing what he was doing to his own people and as fundamentalists have done the same things to the population of Iran who do not follow Allah in the way they decide is right. Yet Assad does not want control of his country to pass to the Mullahs who want sharia law. He wants to remain in control without allowing any form of democracy. Once the darling of the West he is now anathema.
    I don’t want Western involvement so this follows the pattern of previous conflicts but nor do I want the Russians to turn Syria into a satellite of theirs and then try to influence the other Arab Kingdoms into an anti Western stance.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is such a complex and sad situation. I do not see an end in sight any time soon. My neighbors escaped from Syria 3 years ago, and the things they tell about life there would break your heart. I agree with you … I would like to see al-Assad get a large dose of his own medicine. He has never been a humanitarian and his boasts about the ‘taking of Aleppo’ make me ill. So much sadness, so much strife in the world. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, my friend. Many hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Those who refuse admission to the Syrian refugees haven’t ever looked at those pictures, I will wager, or ones like them. They prefer to hide in their closets and moan about the “terrorists” who exist largely in their imaginations.

    Liked by 2 people

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