Friday, February 28, 2014

We Have to Do More to Help Syrian Civilians - And We Can

I was originally going to post the usual cheery photos for this weekend.  But instead I'm sharing pictures of Yarmouk, an area of Damascus where people have endured the violence and isolation of war for years and are now starving to death.   Reporting from Lyse Doucet of PRI's "The World" (click the link) this week has been eloquent and devastating.  I will let her tell you what she has seen.  My words couldn't possibly measure up to hers.

These people are Palestinian or of Palestinian descent, refugees from the war of the 1940's many of whom, because of their long-standing stateless status have not been eligible for passports and so have been unable to leave Syria and the war.  

  (Photo:  Hosam Katan, Reuters)

I have to admit that I have become deeply discouraged about peoples' ability anymore to be good

(Photo:  UNRWA via Reuters)

to each other and to take care of each other.  We are living in a historical period of unprecedented wealth, creativity and possibility.  Globalisation has brought us infinitely physically closer together and instead of making humane compassionate choices to make a better world we have defaulted to selfishness, violence and hate - and just as lethal: indifference.  To be sure, if we are not simply indifferent, many of us are overwhelmed.

If you listen to Ms. Doucet's reporting she will tell you that the scale of the suffering in Yarmouk is not conveyed by the photos that we see.  In fact in the U.S. we are seeing very few photos at all in the mainstream press.  (Googling this subject in English yields very little information.)  I know that my blog has very little impact in the world but it's the least that I can do to share what the scraps of information that have come to me.

A UN aid agency has finally reached Yarmouk - with a pitiful and apparently utterly inadequate 60 packages of food on its first visit this week.  The UN has returned since, I believe.  BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO.  It's reasonable to imagine that Yarmouk isn't alone and that even the UN faces limitations.

So I feel I have to do SOMETHING.  I just can't stand by and listen.  WE CAN ALL DO MORE.  I'm going to be contacting every politician and agency that I know of to beseech them to do MORE to help the civilians remaining in Syria.  You could too.  Here's a link to an Avaaz petition to Leaders of G-20 Nations which is a place to start.   

If this story distresses you too, it would make you feel so much better if you act.


  1. C'est une vraie tragédie....ça y est, j'ai signé pour la pétition.

  2. it's the counterweight of our western globalisation, i find, which causes havoc in those parts of the world where progress is used against the people rather than for. that and eternal {religious and political - what else} suffering. breaking my heart everytime. i cannot imagine, cannot begin to think what it is like to be syrian in this ongoing mess. i feel deeply ashamed. n♥ thxs for voicing, we must voice it.