It seems that every week there is a new disaster that spurs the hashtag, prayfor___. One week it’s Flint MI, another is Syria, yet another is Orlando, Paris, Nice, and so it goes. But what about the week after. After the internet and news stations have found another disaster to broadcast, what happens to the previous issues? Do you know what’s going on in Flint? Or the heartbreak that is happening in Syria and across the Mediterranean Sea as people flee for their lives? Or the Stanford rape case? Facebook and Twitter might have moved on but what about that victim, that victim who wrote the powerful statement that caught the country’s attention, that victim who refused to be another victim?
To tell you the truth, I didn’t know any of these things either. So when I googled Flint water crisis I tried to find the latest news article about the water, if it had been resolved yet. All the articles I found were from June or earlier. The latest I found was from July. Did you know six government officials have been charged for covering up the problem? I didn’t.
I’ll tell you something I have been keeping an eye on is Syria and the refugees. And it’s heartbreaking. Remember in November when the refugees got coverage because dozens of governors said they wouldn’t allow them into their state? (Which they can’t actually do) Have you heard anything else about Syria? Let me share a story with you.
As many people are aware, Pokémon Go is huge right now. Even if you don’t play it, you know all about the millions of people across the world who have it on their phones and chances are you at least know who Pikachu is. Syrian children do too. They saw the world going to crazy lengths to get these animated creatures so they thought they’d try too. Children of Syria, war torn Syria, foreign and domestic government sanctioned bombed Syria, have held up pictures with rare Pokémon on them saying “come find me”. This absolutely broke my heart. The fact that the world has the technology to make a game like this and millions of people are able to unite over it is astonishing. But the fact that this same technology doesn’t allow millions of children to live in a world of peace, or at least one that is not at war in their front yard, is beyond messed up.
I’m not saying people who use Pokémon are materialistic, most people in the West are compared to others, myself included. But it’s troubling to see pictures of innocent Syrian, dead innocent Syrians, and not do anything about it. Remember that picture last year of the little boy washed up dead on a Turkish beach trying to flee a war? (Do you even know his name?) Remember those stories of survival and death around the refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea that were everywhere for a week? Remember last month when more than 70 innocent civilians were killed in an airstrike carried out by the United States of America? And do you remember a few days ago when the world finally discovered Omran Daqneesh? What is most frustrating is that these stories are not new. Every day people in Syria are being killed in airstrikes and more and more children are fearing blue skies. But nothing is being done. Lies and hatred are being spread faster than human kindness. I know the world can’t be changed in an instant but this is what I’m asking you: educate yourself. If more people know about what is actually going on in Syria and with other crisis maybe these problems can be resolved faster. It’s a lot to hope for but at this point, it’s the only thing Syrian children have.
This week the world is praying for Italy. Next week it might be Syria again. Who knows after that?