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Letter from Aleppo No 13 (26 August 2013)



Will this letter be a death notice?

28/08/2013: Syria

Those living in Syria and those following the news closely know very well that from Syria there comes nothing now but announcements of deaths : of children, adults, young people, women, men… Everyone is menaced, attacked, trapped, assassinated, kidnapped, killed, massacred…

Nothing, not one piece of good news, nothing that brings a glimmer of hope, not one word… nothing, nothing other than the shadow of death which prowls about, snatching up bodies and souls…

Our social ceremonies are the burials…

Our meeting places are the churches and mosques…

Our prayers are for the deceased…

Our greetings : « Allah yrhamna » « May God have pity on us »…

Need we paint such a dark picture, a picture of fear and shame so that others take pity on us ?

Up to what point will we be able to resist ? Why continue to stay in the country ? What is waiting for us tomorrow ? What will be our fate ? Where will be our next destination ? How to protect our children ? Where to go with our aged and sick persons ? Are those who have fled this hell happier than we are ? Who has allowed that we suffer this horror ? Who is its agent ? Why us ? Why all this stubborn determination to transform the man and the woman that we are into an object of butchery ?

Where to find a word of hope ? What words of consolation ?

What clothing to choose other than mourning ?

What tears to shed other than those of Goodbye ?

Goodbye, my country, Goodbye, my beloved, Goodbye, my love, Goodbye, my son, Goodbye my daughter, Goodbye, papa, Goodbye, mama…

Have we become a word for goodbye?


On Saturday 10 August, the hate and violence struck the Marist Blues head on by taking the life of Dr Amine, a Marist, a true, committed man of service and goodness. Dr Amine was returning to Aleppo after a short stay with his children. He was returning to the country for his sick and for those who needed him. For him and for so many others killed blindly and gratuitously, our Marist hearts bleed…

More and more, the innocent and impoverished people are paying a very dear price for an international and local blockade. The city of Aleppo continues to be divided… The sole perspective of the inhabitants is to know if today they can provide themselves with bread, water, perishable supplies, milk for the children… It must be said that tomorrow is no more in our imagination… There is only today. Tomorrow is so far away and may be so different that it no longer exists for many of us.

We are faced with other great questions : winter and return to school are fast approaching… Will those lodged in the public schools be obliged to evacuate the places, to move again, to leave…

class=imgshadowThe parents are afraid of sending their children to class… What guarantee of security does it give them? If a mortar were to hit one of the schools… If the roads are blocked…

In front of this grim picture, the Marist Blues struggle to remain, as far as possible, an oasis…

The people come to us to share their concern, ask for advice, calm down their bodies and spirits, to find out if it is still possible to rely on someone… Some take more than two hours to come.

The 40 children of the « Learn to grow » project have just taken 3 weeks of holiday. This will allow the teachers to catch their breath, to keep training, and to prepare themselves to confront a new school year… In order to help the parents organise this holiday time, we have offered them two days of  formation.

The youth of the « Skills School » project continue … They are preparing a feast to celebrate with their parents the end of the summer activities.

So that the horizon may not be completely closed and so that they maintain confidence in better days, we have just launched a new project… This is how « I learn English » has taken off. It concerns the dozen young adolescents who are lodged with the Marists…

class=imgshadowLast Sunday, the Maristes Blues shared the joy of the celebration of the solemn first communion of a dozen children displaced from the quarter of «Djabal el Saydeh»

Although food supplies are becoming more and more rare (oil, cheese, milk are almost non-existant and if they are found they are inordinately dear), we struggle to keep up the weekly or monthly food baskets for «Sallet el Djabal», «Oreille de Dieu» and the displaced.

We have added to the food baskests some bread which is accessible to families only after a long wait, sometimes an entire day, in front of the bakery, in the interminable queues at the risk of being wounded by shooting or shells.

The «Blessés de guerre» project continues to save innocent lives which suffer the consequences of this madness.

We wish to end with the plea Pope Francis formulated during the angelus of Sunday 25 August 2013: 

«That the sound of weapons cease in Syria».

Br Georges SABE - For the Marist Blues

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