Last week, a sarin gas attack killed many children and adults in Syria. The world reacted in outrage and disgust, and President Trump ordered a missile strike upon a key airport (which later turned out to damage fewer jets than originally thought). I am still heartbroken over the image of a man holding his dead twins. This man lost 25 members of his family in one day. I cannot even begin to fathom what pain he must be in.
Due to the missile strikes, our country is entangled in the midst of a complex geopolitical crisis that requires thoughtful diplomacy and smart military tactics to be even halfway solved. Many people may question the ability of our administration to be thoughtful or tactically brilliant. Debates are being held about the constitutionality of one-time weapon strikes and what comprises an act of war. These debates should be held, but I fear that we are becoming too caught up in partisan politics and are forgetting who's at the center of all this.
The Syrian people always seem to be forgotten. Since the Arab Spring events of 2011, Syria has been in a state of upheaval. Aleppo is all but razed to the ground. Thousands of families have perished. Children grow up knowing nothing but violence and loss. Mothers and fathers put their children on boats out of desperation, because the choppy water is safer than the bullet-ridden land. It is a true nightmare.
These people are all created by God. Image-bearers. They live and breathe just as we do.
Try to imagine fearing for your life every second. Going to bed not knowing if you'll die during a night air raid. Getting used to traveling with a few possessions in your backpack, because you don't know if you'll have time to get to the house to grab what you need. Eating rotting food because you don't know when your next meal will be. Watching family members die, knowing you cannot do anything to help. You apply for visas to every nation you can think of, and wait years. Then you hear of a travel ban. They say it is not a ban, but of course it is a ban, when they do not allow you to travel from your country to their country. All you want to do is live, but more than that, you want your family to live.
The attacks continue. You start to feel that no one cares for you. Not even the stars in the night sky hear your cries. Then the chemical attacks come, and you lose half your family. You watch children choke to death on sarin gas. And still you are not allowed to leave. Perhaps it is better to die than to live, because no one seems to care.
This is what goes through the minds of many Syrians. I understand why many feel hopeless and forgotten, because we have played a part in that.
Politics and theater and saber-rattling have taken precedence over the people in Syria for six years.
Whose fault is it?
Everyone's fault. Everyone played a part in this humanitarian crisis, and I think everyone needs to play a part in helping to at least ease the pain.
Whether it's lifting the ban just for Syria, raising a refugee acceptance quota, striking key military targets (I am not a fan of using violence to solve violence, however), or sending in reinforcements to help the White Helmets (a medical group akin to the Red Cross there), something has to be done.
I refuse to stand by and watch a nation die.
Pray for Syria, and pray for them to find hope.