We Want To Live

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Seeking to flee eastern Aleppo. Photo by Malek Al-Shimale. Front photo of wounded boy by Karam al-Masri/ AFP/Getty 

Amidst an uncertain ceasefire, evacuations have slowly restarted from the human catastrophe that is Aleppo to rescue some of the estimated 100,000 besieged souls, many of them children with no access to basic necessities, to rural parts of Western Aleppo. By late Thursday, representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) said a total of 21 buses and 19 ambulances had left east Aleppo, with families continuing to line up at departure points. Civilians have reportedly been given the lose/lose choice to stay under regime control or leave for parts unknown, likely refugee camps; most choose to flee despite the unknown dangers, fearing more massacres, reprisals and violence.

Meanwhile, desperate messages continue to filter out from long-suffering Syrians on social media under the hashtags  #Aleppo and #WakeUpHumanity. "Dear world, why are you silent?" asks one frantic woman still there with her children. "Why, why, why?" Searing new video asks the same vital question. "This might be the last day you will hear my voice and see me," says 10-year-old Yasmeen Qanouz, one of almost 50 "brothers and sisters" trapped at the Moumayazoun Orphanage and pleading for the chance to "eat and drink." "Please get us out," she says in footage released by the Syrian American Medical Society. "We want to live like everyone else."

Nearby, an elderly man surrounded by rubble wails to the world, especially other Muslims, "Where are you?" A potent, troubling, heartrending question. Mostly, it must be said, the world is silently standing by, turning away, missing in action. Though we know where America's president-elect is: As Aleppo's "hell on earth" unfolds, he is busy furiously tweeting about a blistering review by Vanity Fair of his restaurant at Trump Tower.

Fuck him. Summon your humanity for those in an unimaginable place "where the children have stopped crying." As overwhelming as it seems, there are ways to help. Go here, here, here, here, or here. We can't say we didn't know.


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