Here, strings of lights adorn the roofs of houses. There, flashes of lights break the darkness as bombs detonate.
I say “here” and “there” but we’re not that different. We all deserve to be alive, to be safe, to sit around a table with our families and celebrate, whether for a religious holiday or not. We are all equally deserving of these things, and of basic human rights, and yet here, we are putting angels atop the fir tree in our living room while there, people are praying for someone to save them.
So this is Christmas. And what have we done?
Social media was awash this morning with news of what the New York Times quoted as “a complete meltdown of humanity” in Aleppo. According to their article, there were reports of a chemical attack, of families shot in the streets and in their homes, and of people burned alive.
And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong, for rich and the poor ones… the world is so wrong.
Former British chancellor George Osborne said in the Commons that, because of their majority vote against military action in Syria three years ago, the Parliament is “beginning to learn the price of not intervening.” Osborne also said that there had been “multiple opportunities to intervene.”
This is true not only for the British. Back in October, Russia vetoed a UN resolution which was aimed at ending the bombing of Aleppo. Just a few days ago, the United States of America and Russia were trying to reach a deal on a ceasefire in Aleppo. I’m not trying to place blame, but I am trying to make a point: some of the atrocities that are happening in Aleppo could have been prevented.
And so happy Christmas… let’s stop all the fight.
Is it such a shock that intervention in Syria did not come sooner? We live in a world where a presidential candidate asked, on national television,“What is Aleppo?” Well, Gary Johnson, this is Aleppo: bombed, battle-worn, bloody, and filled with civilians who are, to quote from the Independent, “waiting to die.”
A very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.
Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.
War is over, if you want it.
War is over now.
The lyrics in italics in this post are from John Lennon’s song Happy Christmas (War is Over). The war in the city of Aleppo may be ending, but at what cost? The war in the rest of Syria is “far from over” — and the same regime that has committed the despicable acts that made the news today will continue to fight, while their victims will never have a chance at the life they deserved.
This Christmas, put up your string of lights, and place your angel at the top of your tree. But take time to think about the people of Aleppo, and what the world has done to them.