Bana Alabeb is a 7 year old Syrian girl living in East Aleppo. She and her mother Fatemah joined Twitter in September 2016. Since, they humanized life as a child living through the horror inside Aleppo. I have a 7 year old. I see the sparkle in his eyes when he is happy and the sadness that takes over his little soul when he is troubled. In his world, his worries may never get bigger than the ones he has to face today. In Bana’s world, tomorrow may never come. Her mother uses the platform as a political tool begging world leaders to help civilians. She tweets as her country and her family waits for death.
My family happens to celebrate Christmas. As the holidays approach, children will receive presents. A few years ago, I became disgusted by the amount of material items my offsprings received from us and loving family members. We narrowed the list to 4 things: something to read; something to wear; something I want; something I need. While writing their letters to Santa, each year, they are unable to think of something they need. My children, and I think a lot of the children in the city in which we live, although not ALL and that is very important to remember, go without a single NEED throughout the year. A shoe falls apart, we are able to go out and buy new ones. A mitten gets lost, we are able to purchase a new pair. Sometimes without even looking for the lost item. I have to say they are somewhat aware of that privilege. But this year, in particular, this fact makes me want to throw up.
I have an inner fire burning so hot with anger. Anger about the hate and divisiveness which has been prevalent especially in the last year. Anger about the white privilege we see and experience much too often. Last night, in Southern Ontario, the sky was covered in light fluffy Christmas snow. I used to LOVE the sound, or lack, of falling snow. It is so quiet and so peaceful. After my children went to bed and before the Barfing Explosion of 2016 occurred, I put on my husband’s oversized boots and stood outside just to listen. I tried but couldn’t hear my usually endearing and silent falling snow. All I heard the bombingd and screaming children across the world. Some of whom have NEVER in their entire little short lives known or heard silence and peace.
Somehow, God decided that I was to be born here. Meet this great half Dutch half Filipino man and raised 3 multi racial children in a safe, socially and economically sound country. They did not get to choose this. Neither did Bana and her family. The predicament they are in is tragic. If they survive, the psychological damage with which these children will have to live is insurmountable without great intervention, which I doubt they will ever get.
In ten, twenty or thirty years, terrorism will most likely still be alive in the world. Will we still ask ourselves how it happened? Will we still blame others? The hell Syrian children are living through is in no way, shape or form caused by their choices or their behaviour. But it is shaping the adults they will one day become. We will not be able to blame them for that.
The year 2016 has been one of the most difficult year for me, psychologically and emotionally. I will welcome 2017 as a fresh start but the fire is more alive than ever. In the Silent Night, if you can hear the bombing across the world, join me in fighting the War on War not so much the War on Christmas.
Much love and some peace this holiday season.