How to do in War Times


I have purposely avoided posting about the Syrian revolution during the last 21 months. Your thoughts are made up of different stuff than that of analyzing the U.S. foreign policy interests in the region and strategic power plays between the U.S., Israel, Iran, Syria and Russia when you actually know people stuck in barbaric, medieval-style war. You scan the news footage, online videos, tweets, martyr records to see if you know anybody. Most days you can block the worry and fear, but some days it is paralyzing because you cannot do anything at all. You learn that it is best kept to yourself, that those who do not understand, simply do not understand. And those that understand, they keep it to themselves and do not upset themselves by discussing it openly all of the time. I have tried following the reactions of those that I know, who have family in Syria, Palestine and Jordan – to understand what they do. I have tried to accept war as a reality for us in the Middle East. I have tried, and I have failed. I cannot ignore the Syrian crisis (not “civil war”, its more a massacre – language is powerful) and how it affects my loved ones in Syria. I cannot cast my personal connections aside in the name of strategy or policy.

I was and am simply incapable of ignoring, deferring, blocking or minimizing that my cousins, their children and husbands, my aunts and uncles – they do not have access to the same amenities they used to in Damascus. They have to dodge certain neighborhoods, try to shield their children from seeing carnage in the streets, and sleep while listening to explosions that they cannot see where they come from. We are not unique – hundreds of thousands of people, possibly millions, around the world are experiencing this. My point is that, those of us who have family in war, we must connect in someway. What do we do to help us process and understand what is happening in Syria? How do we view the safety of our family and how does it affect our daily lives?

It feels time to break the silence on Syria. Relatives of those in Syria are the unnoticed sufferers of this crisis, and maybe I prefer it that way. We don’t need to be recognized, we just need to recognize each other.

“You want to help people because you grew up with nothing. I have to help people because I grew up with everything.”

– Anonymous young woman I found in a dark cave of my dream, as I was running away from a beach
that iced over all the mermaids and sea creatures before my very eyes.