On praying for Aleppo

Another failed truce on Syria between proxies Russia and US has made headlines all over the media, and has sparked the public outcry on the civilians trapped in Aleppo. Indeed the inhuman conditions they are experiencing are unacceptable, let’s pray for Aleppo and donate however we can. But please don’t forget about the other Syrian cities also devastated by the war.

Pray for Madaya, where people are starving to death right in front of international NGO’s eyes, in which they can’t do anything about because there’s no safe access for the humanitarian convoys. Also pray for people in the likes of Homs, Kobane and Idlib province, whose homes are also flattened to the ground. Pray for people in Raqqa and in border towns near Turkey, who have experienced hell on earth under ISIS occupation. Pray for those Syrians managed to get out from the country, but have to accept the harsh reality as an unwanted refugee in Europe.

While we’re still talking about the region, please pray for the opressed native in an Apartheid state which I dare not say its sensitive name. And please pray for Yemen, which has been suffering from multiple airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and experiencing ongoing destructions as severe as in Syria. Up to 10,000 people have died in Yemen, and according to a UNICEF report nearly 90% of its population (around 21 million people) are in need of humanitarian assistance, where 14 million of them lacked sufficient food and more than 320,000 children under 5 are at risk of extreme malnutrition.

Now if you’re serious about donating, please make sure that the organisation you’re donating to have a very clear method to deliver your donation to its intended recipient. Because in order for any of the NGOs to do something in a particular area, they have to gain permission from whomever control that area at the time (Assad / Kurds / ISIS / one of the many rebel armies), and the controllers keep on changing. And due to the constant fire exchanges among them, a lot of access to that area are blocked.

I’m not going to give any link or recommendation for the NGOs because I’m no better. I sent a humanitarian donation to Syria in 2011 at the start of Arab Spring, for “the people” of Syria who were under attack by the Assad government. As we all know, some of “the people” then broke into many little rebel armies who fight against Assad, fight against ISIS, and even fight against each others, with no report of any humanitarian aid ever sufficiently recorded. Hence, my donation can easily be used for military equipments and thus becoming a part of the problem.

But still, some humanitarian aid do go through, and do help the civilians a lot, we just have to find the right brave men and women that have the best channels on the ground.

We as a private citizen can only do so much, but we can also contribute to pressuring the proxies that have the real power to stop all of this chaos – the US, the Russians and the UN. Pressure them to form a long-lasting peace agreement, via human rights NGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Avaaz, etc. But remember to pressure both sides not just one, because in Syrian conflict there are no heroes, just complicated vested interests in both sides with civilians trapped in the middle.