Will You Answer Now?
December 25, 2016
Freezing cold weather aberrations have hit the world’s changing climate system, leaving none untouched, but some out there—tens of thousands in Aleppo, Syria — have been a lot more “touched” than others. Cold winds and winter rain do not discriminate between those who stay put and those who flee.
The people of Aleppo have lived under horrific conditions for more than four years. From raining bombs to underground bunker busters, there is almost no relief. There is no guarantee in the current situation that they will make it out alive, and even if they do, there is always the worry that the destination will not be safe either.
My heart aches and my eyes fill with tears from just seeing pictures and watching videos of the nearly complete disaster in Aleppo. And all of this I witness from the warmth and safety of my home. My pain is silent.
But in contrast to my silence, I heard her cry for help, loud and clear. I saw her unabashedly demand her right as a human, as my Muslim sister, these words of Fatemah Alabed held my silence against me:
“Dear world, there’s intense bombing right now. Why are you silent? Why? Why? Why? Fear is killing me & my kids.” Fatemah tweeted from her account, @AlabedBana
But our All-Merciful Lord, does not leave His believers hopeless. People can always take action — do the right thing. Being human makes us emotionally connected, even when there is distance. We can feel one another’s pain. Real change can happen if we allow ourselves to take that feeling of pain and do something with it, even in the worst situations. Even when people like Fatemah are stuck waiting in the bitter cold with her children to board a bus to safety.
She took hold of her situation using whatever she could and sent her message to the world, calling everyone’s moral attention to her plight and that of her people, demanding help. People in the most devastating situations are those who cry out loudest. People shout to send an alarm that other people will hear.
“Screaming serves not only to convey danger but also to induce fear in the listener and heighten awareness for both screamer and listener to respond to their environment,” said David Poeppel, a neuropsychologist.
The world has become adept at translating “sounds” from social media platforms. When we read Fatemah’s tweets, and others beside her, we are aware of the situation, and we feel her fear, but we also become afraid for her, and for ourselves.
I was afraid for my own humanity. I heard this call of pain. Would I do nothing? In the least, I had to tell whomever I could. Fatemah is one voice representing thousands, millions even, and I want to share her — their — plea, their right as humans to receive our help.
Social media connects people worldwide. We can hear the cry, the shout, in our minds as we read about it. It’s then that we are impelled to take moral action in response to the cry that causes the best of our human impulses to come to the forefront, that instinctive reaction of feeling another’s pain and extending a helping hand.
Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) is working day and night to hammer out pathways across the world to make it easy for those of us who are warm and full to help the cold, war-ravaged refugees in desperate need of food, shelter, cold-weather clothing and blankets.
One of the greatest donation programs ZF offers is the Winter Kit Program. If your heart reaches out to the people of Aleppo struggling in this cold, cold world as they wait to be saved, you can give as little as $5 to make them a little warmer and preserve something of your own warm-blooded humanity. Share your warmth. Please give generously.