• author
    • Heather Alani

      Columnist
    • March 26, 2014 in Columnists

    The writing on the walls is in blood

    I heard stories about the Syrian civil war when it first began.  I felt compassionate, understanding and sympathetic. But, still it didn’t affect my day. Until I came across a video of a man screaming, holding his dead 3-year-old son in his arms. I never imagined until that moment that I would step into the body of this man and view his son through his eyes.

    The dead baby in his arms was no longer his — he was mine.

    The man bellowed out from a depth within him that I know echoed into the pits of Hades.

    “My son, my son, what have you done to deserve this? I will avenge you!”

    As he gave voice to his words, I heard them escape my own mouth! A fire ignited in the core of my soul. Hell would freeze before I would stop screaming for an end to this injustice! I never counted on finding my voice so alone, as if every person I’d reached out to fell on deaf ears. The echo of my voice carried my message far beyond my own limitations. This is why you’re hearing my voice today.

    It was at that moment, over two years ago, I went searching for answers. Why are these children being killed in such a horrific manner? Why does it seem no one but me is asking why? Why doesn’t anyone care? What about Anne Frank? We would all have done anything to make her story longer than a diary. Why doesn’t the world see the horrific injustice that my heart allowed me to see?

    I learned the truth as I sat with a beautiful Syrian woman, her eyes dancing with fire, brimmed to the edge with tears of emotion as she brought the origins of the Syrian Civil War to life for me.

    She shared with me the deep impressions westernized stories had created, stirring so much passionate expression within many Syrian youth. They too wanted freedom like they saw on television.  Imagining a better way of living, 25 boys ran off to express their newfound inner voices.  Ready for change and defiant of the dictatorship they saw as incorrect, they were prompted to spray-paint “freedom” all over the walls of a building. Not a good way of expressing an idea, I agree.  However, vandalism is not the crime for which these young boys paid.  They paid a hefty price for using their voices to express equality.

    Government officials caught these boys redhanded.  Four of them were returned home, dead, to their parents that night after the tips of their little fingers were set on fire, causing their fingernails to separate from their nail beds. The remaining 21 boys were never seen again. They died for expressing the desire to obtain “Freedom,” their young voices snuffed out by a leader’s desire to maintain his own narcissistic vanity. With great power comes greater responsibility.

    Fear, oppression and death is how Bashar al-Assad’s government is ruled.  Revolt for freedom and you will die. Period.  I know for myself, if you lay one teeny tiny finger on my children, hell would be pleasant compared to what I will do.

    Who does this man Assad think he is? Who the hell is he to dictate when someone should live or die, this man who cruelly slaughters his own people and is allowed by the U.N. to remain in leadership? There is no love or goodness in an inch of this man’s body.

    A man of great stature went to the Syrian officials, demanding that his son be returned to him.

    “Go home and make a better-behaved son. Better thought — bring your wife and I will do it for you.”

    This was the heartless response spat in the virtuous man’s face.

    Now, the people still didn’t retaliate with violence. Instead, they went peacefully to the city streets to give meaning to their sons’ deaths. They cried out for the “Freedom” for which those 25 boys died.  From dawn to dusk, they screamed against the injustice put upon them. In response to their fearless cry, snipers began shooting unarmed protesters dead in the streets.  What started as a few killed each day quickly turned into thousands of deaths every day. The people still didn’t back down.

    “You can take my life, but you can no longer take my freedom,” was the outraged cry.

    Because of the strength of some and the urgency of others to survive, Syria split in two. The division between the people caused confusion over what was really happening.  The truth was lost to other nations because there were Syrian people lashing out: “We do not need help.” America gave the “freedom fighters” (who are not terrorists, but the original protesters) enough fuel to keep fighting the war, but never enough to overtake Assad.  Meanwhile, thugs began creeping into the country and formed a violent third party, which added thieves and rapists to the scene. These very same individuals were viewed by some Americans as terrorists and often confused with the actual freedom fighters.

    The president lashed out at the Syrian children in a heated attempt to squash his opposition. Uncountable numbers of children were slaughtered in horrific manners, in ways our own biased media would never allow us to see.  Long before Assad dumped chemical weapons on his own people, infants were hacked to death with axes, children’s legs were blown off, and other countless unimaginable horrific acts of violence were inflicted on children.

    The war became so disheartening for the civilians. Everything was lost. What would be the price for future generations if they allow their cry for freedom to be squashed?  Far too many children died at the hands of the very leader who spoke platitudes into their life. To give in without achieving freedom would allow their deaths to be in vain.

    The Syrian children were invisible to the world — no one acknowledged their lives, or their cry for help. I watched as they bowed their war-scarred heads and simply said, “What about us? Can you hear us calling, can you feel our pain? What will it take to free us from these chains? Should we just keep on dying while you’re waiting to solve this political mess? Don’t forget how this all started: ‘Look you will see the writing in blood on the wall.'”

    Let not the actions of one divide and separate. It is the oldest strategy for causing chaos and division, with the intent to conquer. Freedom comes with a price — that price has been paid! This war must come to an end! Let the echo of my voice be heard alongside the mountain tops of Syria!

    FREEDOM TO ALL OF THE SYRIAN PEOPLE     Look at the writing in blood on the wall


      • Angela

      • March 26, 2014 at 1:58 pm
      • Reply

      This is a terrible tragedy and, I agree, more needs to be done to help the innocents involved. However, I have started seeing a little more online and on television regarding organizations that are helping the refugees. Hopefully this is the beginning of a greater awareness and move to ensure these poor children are getting helped! Thank you for sharing your voice and concern, Heather – realization is so important and education is key! We are all part of a global community and should never take lightly the pain felt by our foreign neighbors.


        • Heather Alani

        • March 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you for your words. It is important to help the refugees but also to find a way to extinguish this manslaughter.


      • Maya North

      • March 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm
      • Reply

      The pain that roared through my heart at your words scorched my very soul. Every one of these children — these people — is precious. Why does the world do nothing — time after time? Even if they have no hearts, the pragmatic reality is that if we allow these monsters to prosper, we tell nascent ones that they, too, can succeed in their evil. We must rise up as a world and stop them long before the suffering ever comes to such a pitch. Thank you for finding your eloquent voice and raising it about this situation. If we remain silent, Assad (may he burn in hell — slowly) wins.



      • Because the human heart is first off selfish Ms. Maya. Secondly, the human mind is weak. If it cannot make sense or something is too horrific the brain puts it in ignore mode. We as a whole must rise above our own human inadequacies and reach out to a brother or sister. The ones who let their hearts feel are strong. Thank you My Maya darling. Thank you for encouraging me to speak my heart. It will come easier to me next time! 🙂



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