It was everything about him that crushed my heart. How he was dressed for a journey that must've been so exciting because I'm sure his parents told him they were going to a better place, a safe place. His little shoes that look just like the little shoes I Velcro on my sons' feet every day. His red shirt just like the ones I put on my Iñigo, who wears red all the time. In fact, whenever 3-year-old Iñigo saw the photo of 3-year-old Aylan on the news or on my Facebook feed, he asked, "Is that me, Mama? Am I dead?"
I won't say anything more about this distressing crisis. I had thought before, when the Syrian civil war started almost 5 years ago, that it's so far away. Poor people. I hope they sort it out. I hate how apathetic that sounds but my last five years have been full—I got pregnant three times, gave birth three times, am raising beautiful boys, changed careers. Life has been amazing. Absolutely amazing and yet every day, I find something to complain about.
If you would like to understand how the civil war in Syria started, this comic strip describes it succinctly: Syria's Climate-Fueled Conflict.
This short article also describes the history of the conflict with the environmental factor removed: Why People are Fleeing Syria.
Here is an old video of actress and director Angelina Jolie meeting a group of Syrian siblings. It is heartbreaking how they keep smiling through it all, like this is their life now and while they don't understand it, they persevere:
If you need to read something more recent, here is an essay of writer Neil Gaiman who visited a refugee camp, no, he visited a refugee city in Jordan: "So many ways to die in Syria now."
If you would like to help the Syrians and other refugees, you can donate to the following organizations:
- Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) - They have three ships patrolling Mediterranean waters to rescue refugees.
- Red Cross - I checked our local chapter if they have a way for us Pinoys to donate to the Syrian refugees. Found none (although there is a donate button there for victims of the devastating Nepal earthquake). So if you like Red Cross, donate via their international website.
- Save the Children - Donations will buy safe drinking water, nutritious food, tents and sleeping bags, and even diapers and wipes. I especially like how they renamed this whole horror from "migrant crisis" to "CHILD crisis."
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - Aside from providing rescue kits and tents to refugees, they also help children who are alone, whether orphaned or separated from their families.
- World Vision - Funds will go to providing the basics from water, food, blankets to education and a safe place for children to play.
Last of all but for me the most important, please pray for them—the people of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan all fleeing from the war in their countries. Pray for their safety, their health, their protection, their spirits, and that families will be kept together. Please pray for their evil governments, that they stop this horrific crime they are doing on their own people. Please pray for the countries these refugees are fleeing to, that their hearts will soften and accept these refugees into their countries especially now that winter is coming.
I am also praying for myself, for God to remove the now-burning
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