Sunday, October 9, 2016


I have just spent the past few days in an Australian hospital to undergo a stomach operation, successfully performed by a competent surgeon, and cared for by competent staff. As I lay in the quiet of a hospital room I reflected on my good fortune to have the skills and facilities close by, and able to be called on reliably in an emergency.

And then I had to contrast my fortunate circumstances with the hundreds of people who were not afforded the comfort and safety of a hospital, where doctors and staff can perform their regular tasks with confidence and protection.

Like the poor souls in Aleppo, Syria. Not only do they have to suffer the terror, and brutality of hospitals being bombed by their own government and the Russians, but the Syrian armed forces even go to the degree of using 'bunker bombs' to ensure the aircraft can hit targets below ground; where the desperate doctors and medical staff have moved operating theatres and recovery wards into basements for protection.

The UNHCR says 4.8 million Syrians have fled their own country, and 6.6 million of those who remain have been displaced. Then, there's the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have been killed in this conflict. The Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad says he is merely attacking and eliminating the 'terrorist' opposition to his regime. They are 'rebels' who must be destroyed. Sounds a lot like the short Austrian guy with the moustache who back in 1939 was saying the same about all non-Aryans.

This behaviour is simply not civilised, nor humane, and the fact we allow it to continue makes you wonder if we really have come so far after crawling out swamps millions of years ago.

I have another take on the 4.8 million desperate souls who took to boats for dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean. What Assad has done, is to successfully rid his country of 4.8 million people, and forced the world at large to accept, house, educate and care for them. He has, in effect, 'relocated' 4.8 million of Syria's population to 'somewhere else' in the world - not his problem!

However, I have reached my limit of turning on the news each night to witness Assad's latest obscenity. As one person I can do nothing more than make a contribution to groups like Medecins sans Frontiere and Red Cross so that they at least can try to care for the wounded, sick and dying - as well as the babies being born into this horror.

It doesn't seem like much, but I hope it counts in the effort to relieve suffering.

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