Saturday, September 7, 2013
Posted by Maggie May
When seeing the children in Syria who had been bombed with sarin gas, I am filled with agony. I am a mother. I have four children, and the youngest is two. She is still nursing! She cries for me when she is afraid. Once, she fell into a pool. I pulled her out and she clung to me, screaming. I held her and I nursed her and I told her it's OK, mommy's here. Perhaps this is wrong, but when I saw the video today on CNN of children- well, let's stop and say here what I saw, what we Americans saw on these videos. The one I'm thinking of, there was a room full of children. Children starting at two years old, maybe, up to teenagers, but this part of the room was mostly two to maybe ten. An entire room. The floor was filled with children. Each child was laying with some clothes missing. Each child was a strange color that brought to my mind the words cheesy and morbidity and pale. These are Syrian children, so their natural color is a beautiful creamy darkness. Each child lay next to another child with only enough room in between each for a footstep. Many children lay straight and motionless. Some children lay crooked and twitching and convulsing. Their bodies lay on a floor, not on cots, on a floor. They lay without mothers or fathers or older brothers or sisters or cousins or uncles or priests kissing their faces or holding them or praying to them or singing to them, they lay without comfort. Dear God how can this be happening? Dear God how can we help? Dear God my brain cannot understand my heart cannot understand my nerves themselves are agitated and inflamed from only the simple one half hour I watched these videos in loops and my body tried to understand what I was seeing. Dear God the thing that brings me to my knees is that these children do not have their mother. Worse, worseworse they do not have anyone. The doctors and helpers are so good and brave and still they are completely overwhelmed and there is not enough helpers and too many dying. The children lie alone and they are babies they cannot be alone and they are alone. They want their mothers! And God I know that a bleary eyed near tears trembling doctor from Syria explained that so many women died because they cannot be stripped of their clothing and brought inside because they cannot be with the men like this and so they died from lack of care. This is one thing. As a mother this is not the thing. THE thing is that they died without their babies, and their babies are dying without them. That is the thing. All we have in this life to comfort each other is each other, God. How can this be real that those babies lie there with cheesecloth skin and eyes open staring upward and their tiny precious bodies left on the floor LIKE FUCKING SACKS OF POTATOES? Dear God I know I sound insane but Dear God this is insane. Please tell me, because I have no idea how you have the world set up, what I can do? Did praying and crying in my car tonight help anyone? Can I write someone? Can I offer up a finger, what if I give a hand in some accident? Can I wear a hairshirt God? Can I give up all extra comforts in life for a year, like coffee, like Splenda packets in my smoothies like new clothes or Christmas or birthday gifts? Will that help those babies please tell me what will help those babies? Will war help those babies? Will bombs? Dear God we are not supposed to make these decisions on emotions, the pundits are saying, but on facts, and rational. Dear God what facts will help, can you please let us know? Dear God can we make decisions about dying babies without ' an emotional response ' or is that dirty turn of phrase? Dear God what is the ' correct response ' to knowing that somewhere across the world there are rooms full of children dying without love or comfort because their mothers and fathers are somewhere else dying alone too. Dear God I realize that imagining my own children in this position will not help anyone but Dear God I am only human. I am brought to my knees. We are only human. Please tell us how to help these people.