Dear Syria: The Worst Apology
I admit that growing up as an everyday American, I did not learn your history. I have to look online to educate myself, to learn the things I need to know to remember that you’re there and I am here.
But there’s another reality to all of this. Something I don’t need to search in Google to understand.
You are a country made up of humans. Of mothers and daughters, of fathers and cousins and grandfathers and aunts.
You are a people full of life — joy and sorrow, human beings that experience sacredness in everyday moments. You are also a people who have had those moments ripped away from you.
I do not understand the politics of any of this, of you and of us, of all the countries involved.
But what I do understand is that whatever we claim we are doing, it’s not enough.
I am paralyzed when I see your faces on my laptop screen.
I am disgusted with myself that all I know to do is give money to an organization that might have a few arms there by your side.
This. is. not. enough.
Where I might have some sort of apology, there is only lament.
Like the stories of my own indigenous ancestors, your stories are being swept under the giant rug of authoritarian politics and blame games, and it is everything but humane.
I could try to apologize, but these are the moments in which I claw at my own heart, scratching past the surfaces to try to summon up any sort of prayer to any sort of God who sees this as the tragedy that it is.
Because you are more than a news story, and therefore, our apologies are more than not enough.
I tend to light candles when there is tragedy or death.
I light a candle and I say a prayer. I burn sage and I remember.
But what do I do for all of your lives?
What do I do for all of the babies that could have been my own, had I been born on your shores?
My dear, dear Syria, we say that we have not forgotten, but sometimes we have.
We say that we are with you, but we aren’t.
We say that we will make amends, but we can’t.
We are simply here.
You are simply there.
So, what is left for me is the act of lament. Remembering that I began in ashes and to ashes I will return.
What is left is to seek a deep forgiveness from you and the God who sees you, a deep forgiveness from the very core of my being.
I have not loved you as I should love you, and I do not know how.
So I will attempt to lean into your pain in the knowledge that I cannot understand it, and I will lean into my own selfishness with the knowledge of its devastating reality.
I will practice empathy.
I will stop my day to remember you.
I will store up your stories in my memories so that I cannot say I didn’t know.
It will hurt.
As it should.
If only I begin the process of almost, maybe one day, coming closer to the apology that you deserve.
Today, though, that is simply not enough.