“Though seldom thought of this way, the US political system is also a global arms distribution system of the first order. In this context, the Obama administration has proven itself a good friend to arms exporting firms. During President Obama’s first six years in office, Washington entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion in weaponry worldwide—more, that is, than any US administration since World War II. In addition, Team Obama has loosened restrictions on arms exports, making it possible to send abroad a whole new range of weapons and weapons components—including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and engines for C-17 transport planes—with far less scrutiny than was previously required.”
‘A US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters. Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee fighting in their area, in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.’
This is me with Hussam, a 15-year-old Syrian refugee living in a shelter with his mother and brother in the Azraq refugee camp.
Hussam learned to speak English in three months with the help of a CARE volunteer (after just three months of study, he is basically fluent) and excels in school. He told me his family is “split in four parts.” His father and one brother sought asylum in Germany; another brother got a scholarship to university in Turkey, and his two married sisters are still in Syria. He hasn’t seen his sisters, brother, or father in more than a year.
When I asked Hussam why he and his family left Syria, he said, “My school was bombed.” I asked if he was in the school at the time; he nodded and began to cry. I asked him if he was injured and he said, “No, but my best friend was killed.”
Most of the refugees I met in Syria have photographs of friends and family stored only on phones. Later in our conversation, Hussam took out his phone and showed me some pictures of his dad and brother in Germany, and I asked if he had a picture of his best friend. He said “Yes,” and sorted through the pictures for a moment before handing me the phone.
It showed a picture of a dead adolescent boy, his face disfigured by trauma. “That is the only picture I have,” he said.
Hussam and I spent a long time talking about the joys of reading–how reading about travel and adventure is a way of going on adventures even if you can’t in real life–and he also told me he loved writing stories. I asked him if he wanted to be a writer when he grew up.
“No,” he said. “I want to go to university and study to become an engineer.”
“Why an engineer?” I asked.
“Because we will need many engineers to rebuild Syria,” he said.
FYI you don’t need to be either Syrian or Arab to feel their pain
Aleppo, Syria within the past 8 days:
260 airstrikes, 110 artillery strikes
18 missiles and 86 bombs
At least 253 civilians, including 49 children, have died in shelling, rocket fire and air strikes in Aleppo since the surge in fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
Please, at least signal boost this to let the world become more aware of the travesties that the people of Aleppo and throughout Syria are going through. Erase the silence. Erase the world’s blindness towards the people of Syria.
7/21/2016- Syrian graphic designer Saif Aldeen Tahhan and the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office recently launched a photo campaign titled “Syria Go” to raise awareness about children living in war-torn Syria. Tahhan crafted this project in light of the popularity behind Pokemon Go in order to shine a spotlight on the destruction in the country and its impact on the vulnerable over the past five years.
Some of the photos show children holding signs that say:
“I live in Kafr Nabl, the Aleppo countryside. Come catch me.”
“I am a Pokémon at Idlib in Syria, would you please come and save me?”
“I am in Kafrnabol in #Idlib countryside, come find me,”
Tahhan further explained the inspiration behind this campaign:
“I created these images as a way to turn attention to the Syrian war, and to focus on Syrian suffering instead of Pokémon, which people are crazy about,” he explained.
He told Al Arabiya: “The world has become obsessed with this video game, so I told myself why not use it as a medium to convey our suffering.”
“Everyone is now searching for Pokémon, however, Syrians are searching for the basic necessities of life. Honestly, I don’t think the world feels for us.”
According to Save The Children, more than 250,000 children are living in depraved conditions in Syria due to the ongoing civil war.
Please keep awareness about Syria and all those affected by it in mind.