Aleppo and a story from the Vietnam War
The attacks in Aleppo, Syria on December 14 makes me so utterly sad. The TL;DR version is that bombings from the Syrian government have started up again in Aleppo, the country’s commercial hub, despite a ceasefire that had been agreed upon. The saddest part is that many of the casualties had plans to leave.
It makes me think of a story from the Vietnam War my mom told me about. She had plans to get on one of the refugee boats leaving one night. Everyone clamored to get on these boats and she had the unique opportunity to join.
But that night, something in her gut told her tonight was not the night. People were telling her she was crazy and that there might not BE a tomorrow for her … but still, she stuck to her intuition and stayed behind.
The boat she was supposed to get on took off that night was captured by the Communists, who fired their guns and exterminated everyone on board. Luckily, my mother was able to board another boat the following night and eventually made her way to the Phillippines.
The story always left this deep impression on me. I am obviously relieved my mom was able to escape, but I am also so sad for all the people who probably felt eagerness, anticipation, and hope over the chance to escape only to be snuffed out at the last minute. I always wonder what they had planned to do once they got away. What were they nervous about? What were they excited about? What did they hope to see at the end of the tunnel? What did they have planned for that new chapter in their lives?
And I find myself pondering the same things here.
Even if you can donate just a little bit, please do. I just made a small donation to Doctors Without Borders myself but there are many ways to help.
Declan Walsh of the NYT curated some photos and videos of his trip through Syria: What I Saw in Syria
To learn more about the conflict, Vox did a great intro video: