Friday, March 9, 2012

things to say

Last night someone said they weren't sure what they'd write on a blog. I could have said the same thing. I keep trying to think of how to talk about things on my mind and decide the string of words I come up with isn't complete. It just isn't complete. There is always one more thing to say, something to explain, another side.

I've been reading a lot about Syria lately, and downloading a couple podcasts about the recent history of that country and the current conflict. Syria has nothing the West wants. Can I say that? Can I say that if Syria were bubbling oil or mined rare earth minerals, North America and Europe might cobble together an alliance for the sake of the Syrian people on the headline, for the sake of oil and earth in the back. Can I also say that Syrians are not the only ignored or unaided peoples in this world. Hearts ache. Bodies bleed. And I am not sure why Syria is so much on my heart right now. I've never been there. I've never had a wild desire to go. Right now, Syria is a place that we know is in trouble and we feel sad or powerless or angry about al-Assad attacking his people.

It's okay not to understand all of it. For a few days I read article after article about Syria and the West's response and China and Russia and Iran and the Middle Eastern countries all in this mess of watching a man use his army to shell civilian neighborhoods. It is appalling. It is sick. And at the end of any article, more questions.

In my notebook, I wrote about Syria. A third of the country's population is fourteen and under. That means kids are watching this happen now. Kids are in blackouts and hungry and drinking dirty water right now. Their eyes are open and they will remember this time in different ways. That's what I've been thinking about most: what those kids are seeing and hearing, the alertness of fear, the hesitation of relief. I pray and I have a hard time knowing how to pray for the kids in Syria. I pray their minds and hearts are protected from anger and bitterness that root deep, that could only bear more grief and pain in their country in another ten years.

I think about how easy it is to carry a stone of anger your whole life, looking to repay an enemy your hurt. A heavy burden so hard to carry and so hard to let go.

At different times, we all carry something like that. Small hurts that become heavy stones. But the men, women and children in Syria, losing their homes, their years; those are not small hurts. How heavy are their stones?

Edited to add: One of the online news sources I read is The Week Magazine, a publication that draws information from a variety of other print and online media. Recently they posted this slideshow of young protesters in Syria. Take a look.