Thursday, March 23, 2017

REFLECTIONS from an outsider as the Syrian Revolution Enters its Sixth Year

The Syrian revolution (along with other major conflicts like the civil war in South Sudan and the war in Yemen) - with its suffering of so many innocents - has taught me tough life lessons.  The very skin has been scraped off my normally optimistic view of the world, I’ve witnessed that human resiliency is more powerful and constant than the rising and setting of the sun, witnessed that a few people have more courage than I ever could have imagined and that collectively humans seem not to learn from our past.

In the scheme of things I’m not important. Not more important than any other average Josephine. I don’t have extensive training in the politics of the world order. I have a loving family, am competent in my profession as acting chief financial officer for a number of businesses and donate time where I can. Please take that into account when considering what I am about to share. What is informing my opinions and comments is that I’ve volunteered in a very remote, minor capacity in the wheel of aid with Syrian refugees in Jordan for nearly five years.

Further disclaimers – I’m American of French and Italian descent with no Syrian in my background. I’m not a professional relief worker. I simply chose to act by volunteering in a situation I found unfathomable, unconscionable and morally bankrupt all the while watching most of the world stand by doing close to nothing.

Serious aspects of the United Nations are failing horribly. Some are doing a standup job in the most trying of situations.

Specifically, the UN Security Council’s charge is “…maintenance of international peace and security…” (UN Charter, Chapter V, Article 24). The UN Security Council has failed Syrians abominably. One of the Security Council’s member states, Russia, is enacting war crimes on a regular basis since they joined Assad’s genocidal rampage at the end of September of 2015. Bombing hospitals, Red Cross/Red Crescent relief trucks and bombing residents with impunity, just like Assad.  Reform of the Security Council is needed now.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has dealt with the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation being called to provide relief for 4.8 million externally displaced Syrian refugees and 6.6 million displaced within Syria (Syrian Refugees EU; ). That’s 11.3 million people thus far without homes in the Syrian conflict alone. Though the relief provided by the UNHCR hasn’t been perfect, considering the scale and immediacy of the crisis, I applaud their efforts.

I’ve seen firsthand the wonderful work of United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in al Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Mafraq and other smaller camps within Jordan. They provide a lifeline especially for education within camps, albiet not on the scale needed.

Syria’s Assad has committed war crimes – documented war crimes being readied for the International Criminal Court – on an unprecedented scale before the entire world. Videos of bombing homes, dead bodies on prison floors, bombing relief convoys, etc.  I was horrified for the first year. Sick to my stomach horrified. In incredulous disbelief in the second year. Disbelief that the world knows what it knows and does nothing to stop it. Angry the 3rd year and depressed the fourth.  Numb the fifth.  If a distant bystander such as I have felt these things, what on earth is happening to the minds and souls in Syria? And the medical staff that treat the never ending flow of horrific injuries?

           Caesar's photos of systemic torture and killing of detained persons by agents of the Syrian   government as displayed at the UN

The saying “Never again” in reference to the Jewish Holocaust is hollow. Because it’s been happening for over five years in full view of the world, documented, recorded and NO ONE has helped stop genocidal Assad. We humans like to live in a world of denial until crap hits us. The only thing we appear to be complaining about now is the influx of refugees. Well, dears, had someone had the moral courage to stop Assad years ago we wouldn’t be dealing with said refugees. They’d be home safe, tucked in their beds. Righteously blame the victims of the horror and whoever else you want. But the fact is we each hold a piece of the blame. Any and everyone who has looked at a picture, read a story about or witnessed the suffering first hand and has done nothing is blameworthy.

I could continue to complain but I won’t because it’s pointless. I’ll be a microscopic piece of the clean-up crew sweeping away the dust of horrors committed by the powerful, continuing (in my fifth year) to make educational packs for Syrian refugee children in the Middle East. Because that’s what I can do. And I’ll continue to raise money for the Syrian American Medical Society, the foremost leader in rebuilding the medical infrastructure and medical underground in Syria because they save lives. And put the brutally broken pieces of humanity back together one suture at a time.

Video: Syrian American Medical Society: Supporting Medics, Saving Lives, Advocating to End Attacks on Healthcare and Civilians

Saturday, March 14, 2015

St. Patrick’s Day and the Inception of the Syrian Revolution

St. Patrick’s Day and the Inception of the Syrian Revolution share the same week. We all know St. Patrick’s Day, the day the patron saint of Ireland, is honored for his missionary work converting ‘heathens’ to Christianity. The three leaved shamrock which he used to teach heathens – symbolizing the Christian ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost’ - is still used today to symbolize the Holiday.

Likely not as many know that the Syrian Revolution was born on March 14, 2011 when school boys wrote graffiti on a wall in Daraa, Syria which translates to “The people want to topple the regime.” Their simple written act of defiance was met by unspeakable cruelty, murder, rape, imprisonment, torture, bombings, chemical weapons and barrel bomb attacks by the Assad regime against millions. What was hoped to be part of the optimistic wave of Arab Spring – offering hope to millions – turned into a blood bath that continues today.

While we celebrate St. Patrick’s Christian missionary work, I hope we remember, too, those suffering in Syria and in surrounding nations who have fled for their and their children’s lives.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blizzard of 2015 in the northeast of the United States. 
Journalists run outside, cameras aimed at the sky to catch snow falling as if we’ve never seen it before. Hurry! Show the snowplow heading down 5th Avenue as if it were Godzilla that has yet to be filmed!
While in Syria barrel bombs fall on children and no one is there to video…and when pictures are snuck out of the country no news outlets – or very few – dare show the pictures of children blown in half. I wonder why…

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SAMS White Paper on Implementing UN Cross-Border Aid to Syria under Resolution 2165

The very first time the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) signed an MOU with an United Nations agency to deliver a shipment of aid under Resolution #2165, the delivery truck was destroyed in a targeted air strike shortly before the shipment of UN supplies was scheduled to arrive at a Syrian destination via the Turkish border.

Read SAMS White Paper on Implementing UN Cross-Border Aid to Syria under Resolution 2165 here:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Every child deserves the basic human rights: life, liberty and security...

Baby Jana, born of Syrian parents in Jordan, is lucky. She arrived on planet earth on May 7th in a country where her chances of survival far surpass those of her generation that remain in embattled areas of Syria.

UNHCR United Kingdom photo

Every day children are murdered in Syria. Every day. It's a good day when only 8 die like today.
Every child deserves the basic human rights: life, liberty and security. I pray that someday someone in the international arena will have the moral courage to do what is right by the innocent people in Syria who have experienced the unthinkable for years.
Blessings, protection and love to all.

Monday, December 8, 2014


United Nations Security Council is toothless…only able to gum out words of condemnation and not able to protect innocent civilians against the genocide happening in Syria at the hands of al-Assad.

Here is a simplistic approach proving the impotence of the UN SC using some of its own resolutions on Syria over a period of two and a half years:

·              4.14.12 UN Security Council Resolution 2042 – calling for cessation of violence in Syria. It’s December 2014. There has been no cessation of violence.

·              4.21.12 UN Security Council Resolution 2043 – calling for cessation of violence in Syria. It’s December 2014. There has been no cessation of violence.

·              5.27.12 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that acts of violence in Syria may account to crimes against humanity or other forms of international crimes…It’s December 2014 and the crimes against humanity and flagrant disregard for international law is still occurring by the Syrian Regime. Sure, other parties may also be carrying out similar crimes but nowhere near the scale of al-Assad.

·              8.7.12 UN General Assembly Resolution 66/253 calling on UN Security Council to uphold is Resolutions 2042 and 2043 It’s December 2014. The SC still has not upheld it’s two 2012 resolutions

·              2.22.14  UN Security Council Resolution 2139 was passed by a unanimous vote of on February 22, 2014.Resolution 2139 called on all parties in the Syrian Civil War to permit free access to humanitarian aid. It’s December 2014. A meager attempt at allowing humanitarian aid into a few areas occurred and were immediately halted due to Assad regime not approving access to humanitarians.

·              7.16.14 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2165 was passed permitting humanitarian access and aid to Syria. It’s December 2014. A meager attempt at allowing humanitarian aid into a few areas occurred and were immediately halted due to Assad regime not approving access to humanitarians.

The UN made these resolutions all the while ‘reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic’.  While al-Assad is on a genocidal rampage. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Did you see the man holding the sobbing child in Damascus on tonight's MSNBC's news program by Brian Williams highlighting the suffering of children in Syria‬?

How could you heart not be affected?  

As much as it tears my heart I have the honor of doing the same...and then playing with some of those very sad children. 

And I do it with so many of you behind me because it's your aid that comes with me. THANK YOU. 

Let's keep spreading the news and shame the international leaders into action on behalf of the innocent children of Syria!!


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