Having young children means that I’m constantly on the go. Either dropping them off to preschool, picking them up, changing diapers, cooking, swim lessons, the list goes on. In between I worry about picking the right preschool, feeding them the right things, addressing the stutter my son developed for a week, hoping my 1 year old will grow out of the 4 am wake up routine he’s developed in the past few days.
There’s always something to keep me on my toes. For the most part I figure things out but some days it can become quite stressful and tiring especially when there are a few tantrums thrown in to shake things up.
Last week, I was having one of those days. I mock collapsed on the sofa when my husband arrived at 6:30. Half an hour later the kids were both fast asleep and I started mindlessly browsing through my Facebook when I saw a video of a suspected chlorine attack in Aleppo where the majority of victims were not Syrian rebels but women and children.
I can safely say that it is one of the most horrific things that I’ve ever watched. Children shaking from the effects of the gas trying to get their oxygen masks on, young boys being stripped and hosed down with water, a baby being brought in hooked to an oxygen mask while the doctors try to figure out why he is all alone. Many of the children were under five years old and have never known a life without conflict.
I used to cover the Middle East and North Africa as an economist and still follow the events in the region with interest. I realize that the Syrian problem is complex and has become increasingly so as the years drag on. The international community which did far too little at the beginning of the conflict is now partially involved in their own capacities, but with their own conflicting agendas, its hard to see how without a united front, progress can be made. This isn’t the first time the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against it’s own people and I predict that it unfortunately won’t be the last. The Syrian people have little faith in the international community because they haven’t given them much reason to as evidenced by the recent ceasefire already breaking down.
Politics aside, as a parent, I couldn’t get those images out of my head. Many of us get caught up in the little things in our lives; shuttling kids to activities, dealing with tantrums, etc that we forget the big picture. Our children are safe, they eat well, they’re happy for the most part, and are getting an education. It sometimes takes an event like this to jolt me out of it, appreciate what I have, and really put things in perspective.
Watching children suffering in any capacity really impacts me but this really took the cake. I did the only thing that I could think to do which is donate towards humanitarian emergency relief in Syria (through the Islamic Relief organization). I encourage you to donate (or continue to donate) to any organization that is helping victims, especially children, in the region. It won’t help end the conflict but at least it may help get medical supplies to innocent victims.
When Zain and Adil woke up the following morning I hugged them a little tighter than usual. I’m going to try not to sweat the small stuff because it’s the big picture that really counts in the end.