Photo Credit: Creative Commons
By Gabe Quigley
This past week, and the one before, the international community’s eyes have been locked on Syria. On the besieged city of Aleppo. We all knew of the conflict that had been raging since 2011 and we knew of the people caught in the middle, but now our eyes had been forcibly opened to the damage, the death, and the destruction we’re capable of as human beings. The images of children, bloodied and covered in dust. The reports of executions in the streets and in citizen’s homes. It was enough to cause many to simply turn away, to shut off the TV. It’s easier to forget when you’re an ocean away. It’s simpler to go on with our daily lives and to put the horror out of our minds. We see the headlines, and they’re just that: headlines. A title for something in a faraway place that we’d rather pretend doesn’t affect us. It does, and it affects every single one of us. Not as Americans, not as members of the faith, not as republicans or democrats but as human beings. As human beings endowed with the right to life, and to not have it arbitrarily taken from us.
Many have stood by and watched the suffering, not because it brings them joy, but because it brings a great wave of helplessness and despondence crashing down on them. We cannot allow ourselves to drown- to succumb to the fear, that poison that paralyses so completely. To waste time pointing the finger labeled “blame” at one nation(s) is to force your head under the water. The moment has come for us to put away our weapons and our words, to fall at the feet of solidarity. That moment is now, and each one of us can stand against the tide of fear and choose love. Love for decency and compassion. These refugees are people. The refugee crisis is about people. Allowing hate and fear to tell us otherwise validates nothing, and gets us nowhere. The spark of humanity must be held tightly between our palms. We cannot let hate douse it and leave us wandering in the dark.
All it takes is a single individual, one person with one idea to stand in the face of adversity to save thousands. The capacity for greatness is in us all. Staying silent now is not how we make the world a better place. This moment is fleeting and we must grab hold of it while our eyes are still open. Humanity has to be it’s own savior, or indifference will take hold. Indifference to the children trapped in the rubble. Indifference to the bodies in the streets. Indifference to the very compassion and love that makes us human. The time has come to stand in the darkness and strike a match; to light a beacon of hope. The time has come to choose love.
Ways you can help refugees and the people of Aleppo: