As I got assigned to do my next MSF assignment in Papua New Guinea, Syria was proposed to me as well for 2017 if I choose to do so. As I get emails from loved ones about the devastating events in Aleppo it also came with concerns for me to really reconsider Syria due to safety.
What is happening in Aleppo is such a horrific thing. The images of these children, bleeding with missing limbs, numb from the pain while screaming for their dead mothers will haunt anyone who's seen these images forever. How can one simply choose the comfort of their home and decline to help bring medical help when it's in so much need, just because of the fear of one's own safety? The war is Syria has gone on for over five years and has claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million people. Million of people have had to escape their homes. Chemical weapons have been used on hospitals and schools.
I hope that when I share my thoughts & feelings on Syria, I'll get support, love & understanding from my loved ones that getting medics into the most inaccessible places and to the most hard-to-reach people around the world, to deliver healthcare where it is needed most, is why I joined MSF. Not to mention, when one human from one part of the globe, placing their hand on the shoulder of another human from the opposite side of the globe, and respectfully asking, “Are you in pain? Let me help you” is the quintessential act of humanity for me.
These children are trapped in a nightmare, and I think we can all agree that nothing can justify what they've been through or this type of disregard for human life. I choose to rise up out of the storm and see that in moments of desperation, fear, and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another. And I know for sure that there is no them - there's only US.
Don't mistake the media silence meaning this is over. Displaced refugees are living in disastrous conditions with life threatening injuries. Many continue to die daily due to those injuries, cold weather, lack of food, and lack of supplies and space for doctors to read them. All the while, fighting remains in the countryside and smaller cities. Aleppo may be "over" as far as the world is concerned, but Syria is still in dire conditions.
Like I've said before, life happens to you even when you work in the field.
"I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world"_ Mary Anne Radmacher
In MSF you work to alleviate human suffering. You strive to help and support people as much as possible, every day. In the midst of this, it is easy to forget that you too are only human, that on occasions you too will need support.
If you haven't already done so, i encourage you to help donate in whichever capacity you can.
I urge you to donate to DoctorsWithoutBorders, we are on the ground and members have died trying to save civilians and are delivering babies as bombs fall. Or donate to the International Rescue Committee who will aid the refugees.
In the words of Richard Branson, " Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won't make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa - and it's about getting a balance."