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The crisis in Syria continues: is there hope?

Most of the time, 4-year-old Yasmin’s home is a park bench. Sometimes she and her family manage to get accommodation for the night in a nearby mosque. Other times they have slept in an old train on display in the town center. The family cannot afford an apartment. Photo: ©2012 Patricia Mouamar/World Vision

Most of the time, 4-year-old Yasmin’s home is a park bench. Sometimes she and her family manage to get accommodation for the night in a nearby mosque. Other times they have slept in an old train on display in the town center. The family cannot afford an apartment.
Photo: ©2012 Patricia Mouamar/World Vision

A month and half ago two men placed bombs in the middle of a crowded city, killing four and wounding 282 people. An entire city shut down and a country mourned terrorism and violence as they were glued to media around the event. While we certainly ought to respond to the sadness of the Boston Bombing, I found myself at moments with an unsettled feeling that wasn’t just about the lack of safety in my own country. I believe I was unsettled in particular because while while I was glued to the details of this bombing, on the backpage of the news I also saw little articles about three years of terrifying civil war that continue to devastate the country of Syria in horrific, violent bloodshed mounting deaths up to 100,000. I had a nagging sensation that even this one day of the Boston bombing doesn’t compare to one day in Syria. I don’t know what to do with this feeling…this feeling that is more than unsettling.

So, what is the current situation? Well, 4.25 million people have been displaced within Syria (yes, 4.25 MILLION!) and more than 1.6 million are refugees in neighboring countries (primarily Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq) with no signs of slowing. Syrian families leave everything behind as they try to escape shootings and bombings resulting in them having no shelter, clean water, food, identity papers or anything more than the clothes on their backs. As people (men, women, and children) try to find safety, they take any shelter available (even if horrible conditions) that still often require rent payments that people cannot afford. Refugee camps are more than twice their occupancy limits, only increasing the malnutrition and diseases that are affecting children the most. Rape and exploitation are abundant. Families are feeling pressured to marry off their children to reduce the strain. Hopelessness is the worse illnesses spreading rampant now.

Can that sound any more unsettling?

Is there any good news?

Well – where there is persevering support, where there is hope – there is good news. World Vision and other organizations are helping to provide food, clean water, and sanitation. Small schools and child-friendly, safe spaces are being created. Clothes, blankets, and hygiene kits are handed out.

But – honestly – this is a desperate situation and it ought to be entirely unsettling to our very core. It ought to unsettle us to the point that we enter in, perhaps to imagine how much of our stuff we can pack in a bag with bombs all around us, as we shelter our kids from falling debris. Let us be unsettled as we weep for and plead on behalf women and girls who have suffered abuse because of this horrible war. Let us stand beside other moms on the other side of the war as we pack Hygiene Packs for them to keep their children clean. But, as media comes and goes (just like the Boston bombing is no longer in our newsfeed), we can’t forget that this isn’t a one day attack, but something much longer and is not out of sight when it is on the backpage.

Let us stick around until there is true relief and hope. Let us be unsettled until this is over.

by Anna Goodworth, WOV Hartford, CT

Editor’s Note: View the latest World Vision videos from Jordan as refugees from Syria arrive at camp Azraq, about two-thirds the size of Manhattan.

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  1. […] go to Aleppo, Syria to live as refugees. She witnessed crossfire, torture, and murder in a nation torn apart by violent conflict. Although she currently lives in Chicago, many of her relatives and friends still live in […]

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