While we should pray for all of the people who make up the diverse religious mosaic of Syria — Alawites, Christians, Druze, Jews and Sunni Muslims — sometimes it’s helpful to have some specific people to pray for. This Holy Week, here is a suggestion: offer a special prayer of thanks for the Christians of Aleppo.
While all of the people of Syria have experienced horrific suffering in the past seven years of war, the people of Aleppo have been especially hard hit — among them, the estimated 250,000 Christians living there. We have heard of the destruction of the historic Souq and heavy damage to the Old Aleppo area; less well known is the damage to the houses of worship there, among them churches. At one church, Christians attending services during some of the worst of the fighting held umbrellas over their heads to protect them from plaster falling from the ceiling which was shaken loose by terrorist attacks.
But throughout it all, the Christians of Aleppo have survived. Two remarkable artists, Bachir and Nimat Badawi, have been hard at work night and day to create fresco murals at their beloved Syrian Catholic Cathedral in time for Easter. Please take a look at this brief 4-minute video produced by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) with English subtitles by Tony Khawan Art Gallery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBw2otbWNMY&feature=youtu.be As you do, remind yourself of the images of destruction you’ve seen of Aleppo and then, if you’re a person of prayer, offer a word of thanks for the courage and perseverance of the Christians of Aleppo during the past seven horrific years.
And here are a few other things you can do: write to your Senator and Congressperson requesting that the U.S. increase our inadequate support for international humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. And just as all the recent school shootings have led many of us to demand restrictions on gun sales, it’s time that we start demanding a similar end to the billions and billions of dollars of profits that American arms manufacturers are making from the sale of weapons to participants in this deadly proxy war.
And here’s one more thing you can do later this year: my good friend Tony Khawam of Khawam Gallery and Common Humanity are organizing a project for you to send a Christmas and New Year Card to Syria and actually get a card in return. Stay tuned to this space for more information in the near future or send me an email at email@example.com and we’ll send you information soon when we have the details worked out. Learn more about Common Humanity’s work in Syria at our website CommonHumanity.org and see some of Tony Khawan's very moving contemporary paintings about the destruction as well as the hope of his hometown of Aleppo at https://khawamgallery.com.
And thanks for offering a prayer for all of the people of Syria.
Holy Week, 2018