Taking Action For Aleppo

I remember learning about the Bosnian War my senior year of high school.  As I processed information about the religious persecution, the genocide and civilian unrest, I remember feeling shocked that I had never even heard of Bosnia before, much less a Bosnian War. Furthermore, I wondered, how could this have happened?  The war didn’t even end until after I was born.  There was genocide in a so-called “civilized” and “western” part of the world during my lifetime.  Call it ignorance or naivety, but I simply could not believe it.  I went to my parents and asked them what they knew about the war.  My mother said she had heard of it, but didn’t really know anything about it.  Even my dad, an avid newspaper reader, had little to say about the war.  I was horrified.  It made no sense to me how people could have known about the human rights violations of the war and done practically nothing to educate themselves and take action. 

Earlier this week, as I learned about the crisis in Aleppo, I began to understand how easy it must have been to brush the Bosnian War under the rug with a simple “there’s nothing we can do.” And I realize today, as I read about the current crisis between hours working on final papers, how easy it is to do the same thing now.  What’s happening in Aleppo is only one of many atrocious wartime events that have taken place in Syria during the last five years.  We’ve all seen the civil war in our morning papers, on our Facebook feeds, and on our TVs.  And we’ve all witnessed the consequential Syrian refugee crisis unfold from afar.  But it’s been easy to read about the latest human rights violation in Syria, shake our heads and say, “how horrible,” before returning to our normal everyday lives.  It’s been easy to watch the newest news statistics on the refugee crisis, sit back and say, “why isn’t anybody doing anything,” before flipping the channel to something pleasanter. And it’s been easy to forget. 

We live in an America that lives for the sensational.  One week’s hot button news story is almost guaranteed to fizzle out and become old news by the next.  Occasionally, an ongoing issue will make a comeback in the news with the introduction of a new, horrific story.  Such is the case today, with Aleppo.  Our news has been peppered with accounts from the civil war for years, but over time, they've become fewer, and easier to brush aside. This week, the crisis is suddenly back with the civilian massacre taking place in the city of Aleppo.  This is our reality and is sucks.  It sucks that it takes such a horrific event to help people (myself included) wake up and say no more to what’s been happening for years.  I think it’s time we do something about it.

To start, I urge you to take some time today, read about what’s going on in Aleppo and watch several of the harrowing video pleas coming out of the city.  Then, do your bit.  Sign a petition, donate to aid and rescue workers, educate your family and friends.  And when news coming out of Aleppo beings to stall, don’t end your education or your support. On your own, yeah there is little you can do, but if everybody joined together and did just a little something, then maybe we can help after all.  And one day, when your kid asks you how what’s going on in Syria could have happened, you can tell them exactly what happened and why. 

To learn more about what's happening in Aleppo, start here: 

  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38132163
  2. http://www.npr.org/tags/157286341/aleppo

To learn more about the Syrian Civil War overall, start here: 

  1. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/syria-civil-war-explained-160505084119966.html
  2. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868

To learn about how you can help, start here: 

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-help-aleppo-charities-and-organisations-to-donate-to-including-msf-the-red-cross-and-the-white-helmets_uk_584ff7a8e4b040989fa80770
  2. http://time.com/4602080/support-aleppo-victims/  

Article Image via The Independent, Thumbnail Image via Wired