I groaned when I heard a former governor of a U.S. state and current candidate for the U.S. presidency—albeit a candidate without much chance of actually winning—respond to a reasonable interview question with ignorance that stopped me in my tracks. (“Groan” isn’t an adequate description of my initial response but what I thought and even said aloud shouldn’t be aired publicly.) When asked what he would do, if elected, “about Aleppo,” the candidate responded, “What is Aleppo?” In his defense, he claimed that he thought it was an acronym. Personally, I believe that defense wouldn’t stand a chance in a high school mock trial.
After I cooled down, I began to wonder how many North American Christians know “what” is Aleppo? How many of us have Googled a map to see exactly where this once beautiful city is located? Did the Apostle Paul travel its streets? Do we wonder where all the people have gone? Do we see the blackened homes, smoke rising into the skies, rubble littering the streets? Do we weep over the heartbreaking picture of the little boy rescued from that rubble? At one time Aleppo was home to the largest number of Christians in Syria. How many churches have been bombed, how many followers of Jesus have been murdered?
I can’t know everything about every place. My heart can’t break for every tragedy. But if I am to pray with intelligence and with some semblance of emotional connection to my brothers and sisters, I believe that at the very least I should look at a map and lay my hand on their homes and churches and children as I pray for mercy and justice. Maybe, just maybe, I can be one who knows the answer to “What is Aleppo?”
One thought on “THIS is Aleppo”
Thank you so much Marilyn for bringing more attention to ‘Aleppo, Syria. Our son and is wife taught in a school there and we had the privilege to walk her ancient streets and enjoy her lovely people. Truly our hearts break for their current situation and the hundreds of lives, men, women and children who have died in this current conflict.
Years ago when I was 21, I road in a ‘service’ (communal taxie) from Aleppo, Syria to Beirut, Lebanon where I remained for a year. In the late 90s we were there in Aleppo visiting our son and his family who were teaching in one of the schools there. The sights, sounds and smells of the ancient city with it’s amazing Citadel will always remain in my heart. As Beirut sprang back to flourishing life after 15 yrs of war, this is also my prayer for ancient Aleppo and her people….