A few days ago I wrote an article referring to why I felt no sadness for the father of Elan, the young 3 year old boy who passed away along with his brother and mother at sea last week while seeking to escape the war in Syria. To say it was met with some criticism would be an understatement.
My position is such that the men of Syria should not be running to Europe or any other country at this time. If they want to move their families to safer locations abroad, then that’s fine. However, they should be made to come back to Syria and sort out their country’s problems. I feel that if the men of Syria abandon the poor and destitute of the country to the merciless embraces of Bashar Assad and ISIS then who, in their estimation, will care for the children and elderly that can’t leave the country? Who will defend them? Many of you did not agree with my position and that’s fine. It was a debate that we needed to have. However there was one element that was missing from that debate: the Syrian voice from inside the country.
I have gone from town to town and hospital to hospital to visit the injured and the ill. I always ask: “Where is the doctor? I’d like to ask how patient so and so is doing.” The response I get too often is: “There is no doctor here, only nurses.” Good Syrians and their foreign helpers are putting their lives on the line to stop perhaps the most brutal dictator of our time and there isn’t even a doctor to treat them when they get injured. If the Syrian is injured, and if he can make it to Turkey, then he can get treatment there. Maybe. The foreigner is stuck. If he goes to Turkey he will be arrested and deported as soon as he is able to get up from his hospital bed. Upon his arrival in his home country, he may be charged with terrorism and jailed for a long stretch. So in his fear of that, he finds himself with meagre health care to treat his injuries and he simply has to content himself with that. That is what we call in my home country of America: “A damn shame.”
Why is this the case? What happened to Syria’s health care sector you might ask? I’ll tell you: Most of them are now in Europe or other countries watching on TV the defenders of their defenseless countrymen die or have to deal with permanent injuries because there are so few health care professionals.
However, as I said, what is missing from this debate are Syrian voices. Below are a few pictures taken the other day at a demonstration outside of the Turkish-Syrian border crossing Bab Al Hawa just a few days ago. Please take a look at how Syrians, real Syrians, have to stage demonstrations and beg and plead with their countrymen not to run away and abandon them. Some of their slogans read:
“Syria is calling you, we need you”
“Because we love you we will not let you leave
“This is our country, let’s rebuild it together”
“Elaan (the drowned boy in the famous picture) “May Allah forgive your father”
“To where are you going Syrians? O doctor don’t leave, my son is sick, my son needs you!”
These are slogans written and chanted by Syrians who have been abandoned by all those able-bodied men who ran away from Syria. I’m sorry, but those men who did so are not heroes for braving the sea.