This story and news video broke my heart.
I don’t have any personal connection with Syria, and to be honest, I haven’t paid as much attention as I should to the civil war there. But yesterday, I read about the civilians fleeing Moadamiya after months of siege by government forces.
They are starving. No food or medical supplies had been allowed inside this suburb of Damascus. One lady told the reporter,
“We didn’t see bread for nine months . . . We were eating grass and leaves.”
I can’t imagine. I remember the hunger pains from when I was anorexic, the gnawing, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I tried to fast for spiritual reasons. That was nothing, nothing, like the hunger these men, women and children have felt.
I watched the accompanying video. At one point, humanitarian workers help an elderly lady sip on a bottle of water. Tears sprang to my eyes.
Such a simple act: giving someone a plastic bottle of water. I’ve done it dozens of times, given these bottles to my children or visitors or the termite inspection man. But it’s never had this significance.
Such a simple act: sipping a bottle of water. I’m drinking water now, having called it quits on caffeine for the day. This morning at the gym, I gulped water between sets of squats and presses. All my fellow gym-goers had water bottles of some sort, from the guy on the elliptical who talks to himself, to the man stretching, to the worker behind the front desk. I packed water bottles in my children’s lunch boxes. Such a simple act. Yet this lady shook so much that she needed help holding the bottle to her lips.
It’s hard not to feel compassion for these victims of war.
It may be difficult to understand the conflict, or agree on how (or if) other governments should intervene, or even know how to pronounce the name of these suburbs of Damascus. But it shouldn’t be difficult for us to understand this:
People are starving.
People are dying.
People are people, even when they dress and speak differently than I do.
I need to care what happens to them.