This week, Egypt is figuring out their first election, and, you, Syria, you are burying your babies in Houla.
I don’t know you very well, Syria, but today, my heart is with you. I can hardly bear to look at the images, to read the news trickling from your borders, in a smuggled and anguished whisper? It’s been more than a year, we all rallied on Twitter and cheered the Arab Spring, now it’s months and months later, I watch the news and almost the only thing I can say, almost the only thing any of us have been able to say for more than a year, is what the hell is going on in Syria? How is this happening?
You’re at a tipping point now, the UN tells us, since the massacre at Houla. The peace plan has not been implemented. There is no humanitarian corridor. Refugees are trapped. The massacres, the torture, the bombings, the systematic rape of your women and your young men, the bloodshed, it continues, and somehow, still, you are hopeful that you will be free.
Or so I hear.
Today my government expelled the regime’s diplomats from our country. This step of isolation is a necessary diplomatic one, probably long overdue, but it doesn’t feel like enough, when I see the mass graves, when the grieving men lift up the bodies of their children to shove their lifeless and crippled bodies at the television cameras, here, here, here, you are keening and begging us all to look at your children, look at them, there, dead in your arms.
I had to turn away, I could not bear the sight of your loss and grief.
I don’t understand you very well, Syria, we’re so far away from each other in so many ways. I don’t understand the politics, I don’t understand the religion, I don’t understand the nuances and the sides, I don’t understand the history, I don’t understand how and why and who. I want to understand, I want to know more, but I don’t think I ever could truly understand, how could I?
But here, in my safe and secure home, in free and democratic Canada, I want to understand you, I want to stand with you for peace. I understand grief, I understand fear, I understand love, I understand justice, I understand the yearning for freedom, I understand courage, I understand the human spirit, and I see those beautiful and tragic truths in your people. I am weeping for your children, for you my Syrian sisters and brothers, and I am praying for peace, praying for strength, I am praying like it matters.
Be strong. We are with you.
To donate towards humanitarian relief, check out the International Committee of the Red Cross (working with Syria’s Arab Red Crescent.)