Pearls & Vodka

Aleppo: The Complete Meltdown of Humanity

If you have never heard of Aleppo, you really need to start watching the news more.  I don’t mean that as an insult, but there are so many very important things going on in our world right now and so many people that very much need your prayers.

A little background though for you, in case you are behind…

Aleppo is a city in Syria that is known to serve the populous Syrian government.  For centuries now, Aleppo has been the largest city in Syria and just following Constantinople and Cairo as the third-largest in the Ottoman Empire.  This all began to change with the Syrian Civil War that began in 2011.  It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.  It has always been a main strategic location as a trading center between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).  Aleppo’s historical context is that it is a city on one end of the Silk Road, which was the ancient network of trade routes connecting the East and West, from the Mediterranean Sea to China.

The Battle of Aleppo began in 2012 and the city has suffered massive destruction and to date, is the worst-hit city in the Syrian Civil War.  The battle has been marked by the Syrian Army’s use of “barrel bombs” which are dropped from helicopters and kill thousands of people at a time.  These bombs have been purposefully dropped on hospitals and schools by the Syrian government and their Russian allies and rebels.

Aleppo is one of the largest Christian communities in the Middle East.  It is estimated that more than 250,000 Christians live in the city, which is about 12% of their population.  [3]

Today the United Nations declared Aleppo, the “worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century.”  And what is crazy is the fact that most Americans have no idea what is going on there and no idea the gravity of it all.

Syrian rebels said Tuesday they reached an agreement with Russia for a cease-fire in Aleppo to evacuate remaining civilians and rebels from the bloodshed in a conflict that the U.N. is describing as a “complete meltdown of humanity.” [1]  As of the time of the announcement of the cease fire, the government forces had rounded up nearly 6,000 teenage boys and young men who were trying to escape the weeks-long assault there and have forced them into military service.

It has been confirmed and validated repeatedly that government forces are entering civilian homes and killing people.  Imagine that with me for a minute.  You are sitting in your living room tonight, probably watching TV, listening to the voices and laughter of your kids, while the Christmas lights twinkle in the background.  Now imagine soldiers rushing in your house, unannounced, not even ringing the doorbell and killing you all.

This morning alone, 20 women were confirmed suicide cases as their attempt to not be raped ended in their demise. Yesterday, 79 civilians were trying to flee the internment like camps in warehouses and were executed in the makeshift barricades.  Rubble is everywhere.  This once historic town with great museums and temples has now been reduced to rocky rubble on every corner.  Women and children can be heard crying out from under the debris for help, except in Aleppo, no help is there to be found.  On Monday alone, there was a report of tens of thousands of civilians being shot dead in one neighborhood.  There have also been reports that chemical attacks have now begun in one area of the city.

At the time of the cease fire the French President Francois Hollande said the Aleppo, “humanitarian situation…is unacceptable.”  That is such a hollow way of putting it.  What is happening in Aleppo is one of the worst humanitarian crisis our modern world has ever seen, and many have no idea it is even taking place.  Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said, “Civilians have paid a brutal price during this conflict, and we are filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last hellish corner of opposition-held eastern Aleppo.” [2]

Back in May it was reported that a Doctors Without Borders facility in Aleppo was hit, killing more than 50 of their staff.  In that strike, Muhammad Wassim Mo’az was killed.  He was one of the only pediatricians remaining in the city.  War correspondent Martha Gellhorn said at the time, “war happens to people, one by one.”  [4]  One surgeon on the day of the attack that killed Mo’az said, “Day by day, we are bleeding our medical staff.  We will wait for a day when there will be no more doctors inside Syria.” [4]  In 2015 it was speculated that 95% of the doctors in Aleppo had been killed or detained.  [4]

Wounded Syrian Kid Omran DaqneeshThe image of little Omran Daqneesh was spread throughout the media in August of this year.  You will remember his little face, bloodied and dirtied, just a heart-wrenching reminder of the ceaseless civil war in Aleppo.  Save the Children reported that one-third of the casualties in Aleppo have been children.  Innocent kids. The most vulnerable victims in this war.  [5]

Sarah Bessey, Christian blogger said today, “Aleppo. What is there to say? Words are inadequate, tweets are useless, status updates powerless, demands and cries disregarded. But I think if Jesus walked today, He would be in Aleppo with the suffering. I do not know what prayer will accomplish here but I am crying out for the big things anyway: miracles of peace, comfort, courage, healing, life, deliverance, all of it. How long, o Lord? Holding vigil with you, Aleppo, groaning for the new creation and the new day to dawn.” [6]

The madness that has become of Aleppo over the past few years during this battle is incomprehensible.  As Christians, as Americans, we MUST stand against this horror.  I should hope that those of you who have been wasting so much of your time and energy on conspiracy theories with the election and weeping over votes already cast, will take some time to get on your knees today to pray for those who are truly in need.  We can no longer pretend that this is not happening and that our petty, foolish gripes that have flooded social media since the Presidential election truly are wroth our time.  Today when you feel the need to gripe about hackers, your candidate losing, your candidate winning, or your so “highly educated” political opinions on Facebook…how about instead go online and donate to Save the Children who is working to get food and water to those innocent little ones left behind in Aleppo, or the International Rescue Committee  who is working to get medical supplies and mobile healthcare clinics into Aleppo, or Doctors without Borders who has lost so many of their own but are still working hard to help those in need in Aleppo.  [7]

[1] <http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/12/13/thousands-syrians-have-nowhere-safe-to-run-as-government-forces-descend-on-aleppo.html>

[2] <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/world/middleeast/syria-aleppo-civilians.html?_r=0>

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleppo

[4] http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/05/syria-aleppo-pediatrician-doctors/481212/

[5] http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/aleppos-children/aleppo-s-children-omran-daqneesh-one-thousands-suffering-n635391

[6] <https://www.facebook.com/sarah.styles.bessey/posts/1366956760022386:0>

[7] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/aleppo-boy-omran-daqneesh-five-practical-ways-help-syrias-children-under-siege-1576973

PICTURE https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/omran-daqneesh-ali-dead.jpg%3Fquality%3D85%26w%3D1012&imgrefurl=http://time.com/4465904/omran-daqneesh-aleppo-survivor/&h=665&w=1012&tbnid=WBc5shJaF-FlHM:&vet=1&tbnh=131&tbnw=200&docid=iHCiMXClgefaAM&itg=1&usg=__CpJgHn3j78qyeWhQfzwMdtSj8jE=&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZhtjr9_HQAhXMAcAKHUKpCZQQ_B0IYzAM&ei=T1BQWNmiMsyDgAbC0qagCQ