Sarah Peraud is a Junior Justice & Society Major and a Formation Group Leader in the Cortina Community. This is where she stands with regard to the possibility of the United States’ intervention in Syria.
I have no idea what to write about Syria. I am clipping editorials and stapling those words into my journal because I cannot find my own.
The thought of striking Syria makes me deeply sad. There is no part of me that things this is a good solution. But, try as I might I haven’t come up with a better one and I know that even if I did I would not be asked to share it with those in charge.
So what can I do? How do I wrestle with Syria? How do I wrestle with my own feelings about the conflict? Is clipping news articles enough or am I just doing that to create an illusion that I am doing something—that I can do something?
In the past few years and most recently this summer I’ve done a lot of work with refugees. Time and time again I have met people from Iraq, from Iran, from conflicts not totally unlike Syria, struggling to build a home here.
One question mentioned in an editorial (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/opinion/kristof-the-right-questions-on-syria.html?ref=nicholasdkristof&_r=0) has really stuck with me all day. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights referred to peace activists (much like I like to consider myself) and asked, “Where were they the past two years?” This is not a new war.
Asked that question after so recently working with refugees has brought up still more questions for me. Where was I in Myanmar? Sudan? Bhutan? Where was I in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why didn’t I know the pain of these people until they were on my doorstep?
I cannot go back two years, read and act about Syria or any of those other places. But, there are things I know I can do. I can be here the next two years. I can be present the next two years. I can be present to refugees as they come and present enough to ways to build creative solutions now so that there is less need for resettlement agencies because homes stay intact.
Especially as a part of a community called to solidarity, I feel compelled to struggle over these questions and with these people. I have not loved Syrians well the past two years. How can I love them better the next two? One of the first steps to doing this is to stay as informed as possible. I cannot claim that I have answers, but I can say at least that I am looking for them.
If I am sure of one thing, I am sure of this: We must keep reading.
I was asked once why I still read the news because “doesn’t it just make me sad?” Of course the news makes me sad. My heart wrenching for Syria is proof to me that it is still working. Our hearts should wrench for Syria, for the thousands dead who have become statistics, for all those living in fear, for those who will lose everything, and even for Assad and the rebels. It should not be a stagnant grief however, but a pulling of the heartstrings—a pulling forward.
We have been blessed with incredible opportunity and resources. We can use them to read about Syria, as tools for dialogue, as ways to form a conscience that will not only speak up at the last minute, but in that first minute, not just this year or the next two years, but every year. We must keep reading. We must be present. We must feel our hearts continually, communally pulled to new solutions, to finding answers, to loving with. I don’t have answers. I am trying desperately to find a place for my own voice in all of this. I am conflicted and angry and sad.
But I feel the pull. I feel a beginning.
Some of the things I am reading:
http://projects.nytimes.com/live-dashboard/syria?hp (Live updates!)