Syria

meeting 7915

For this week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post Krista asks us to share a photo that depicts our interpretation of “security.”

Given the events of the last 24 hours I hope you will allow me to become political today.

The photograph is of the entrance to the United Nations Building in New York, which I took in 1965 on my first visit to this greatest of cities as a young student visiting America for the first time.

Yesterday, like all of you, I saw the horrific images from the nerve gas attack on the people of the city of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, northern Syria, images that will haunt me for many years to come. Children gasping for air, suffocating, and dying along with their family members in a war crime that is now imprinted on the minds of all of us. There are not enough words to express the anger, despair and sorrow that we all feel today as we express our deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this atrocity.

This morning I watched the webcast of the 7915th meeting of the UN Security Council in which each member of the council made a statement concerning “The situation in the Middle East (Syria)” as the session was entitled. Watching the representatives and listening to their statements it felt as if we are living in an alternative universe and witnessing another moment in time in which truth, facts and reality never seemed more unattainable.

Two moments among many stood out. The first was the Russian delegate who claimed that the Nobel Peace Prize nominated White Helmets had staged the event implying that we were witnessing actors pretending to die and foam at the mouth. No commentary that I have read or heard so far has, as yet, condemned these words.

The second moment was Nikki Haley, the President of the Council and the US Representative, holding up two graphic photographs that I have blurred for obvious reasons, and asking the Russian representative to look at them. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares” she said. Her words were powerful and worth listening to. At the end of this post I have provided a link to the UN broadcast that I would encourage you to visit when you have the time.

Will there be a resolution to come from this. One doubts it, but we can only hope. Here is the link to the UN Council meeting.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

I have been struggling how best to respond to this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge from Cheri in which she asks, “what quest means to you.”

Initially I thought, somewhat philosophically, that I would explore trying to represent the quest we all have had at some point in our lives for “the meaning of life,” but this week watching the horror and tragedy in Aleppo becoming more desperate each day, and seeing the heartbreaking images of little children, the same age as my beautiful granddaughter who is fifteen months old today, being pulled from the rubble of their homes, it is clear that the meaning of life had ended for them before it had even had a chance to begin.

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Watching on my laptop one of Jeremy Bowen’s reports from Syria, one image stood out as a metaphor for all the White Helmet volunteer relief workers, first responders and medics who have lost their lives in the name of peace and humanity trying to save these children and families. This ambulance had been pulverized in targeted bombing and on its side are the words HAS YOUR HEART DIED, and hidden behind the pillar I believe the words read ALONG WITH YOUR CHILDREN?

How else to express both outrage and sadness but with pen and brush, ink and paper, as I have done too many times before:

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And so you ask what is my answer to Cheri’s question,”What does quest mean to you?”It is simply that one day those responsible for these war crimes will be held accountable and brought to justice.

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Aleppo 25.9.16

Here is the link to Jeremy Bowen’s report from September 14th:

Syria ceasefire: Aleppo district “pulverized”

Dedicated to five-year-old Rawan Alowsh who was pulled alive by her pony tail from the rubble last Friday and sadly to the memory of her three sisters and one brother, who were all killed in the airstrike together with their father, Mohammad Alowsh, 28, and mother, 30-year-old Kefaeh.