Rubble, Blood and Bones — A Cry for Aleppo

I am sick with some routine virus. I go to the doctor. She measures my blood pressure and it’s high. “It’s always high at the doctor’s,” I tell her. But at home it’s also high. And also the next day, and the following one.

And it is no wonder. During these days, I, like many others, have been obsessed with the situation in Aleppo, and our inability to do anything to help, other than donate money. Aleppo is less than a day’s drive from my home. Aleppo, which was once a cultural capital with a flourishing Jewish community, is reduced to rubble, bones and blood.

I scroll through my facebook newsfeed again and again, and everything that is not about Syria seems irrelevant and trite. I look again and again through the web pages of different organizations I can donate to, because it seems that’s all we can do. The sense of helplessness is unbearable.

After the Second World War everyone swore that it would never happen again. And it is happening again and the world leaders are silent. A truly deafening silence. Social media is packed with pictures of dead children, some being held by a parent, some buried beneath rubble. And live videos of people saying goodbye, expressing their bewilderment at being abandoned by the world.

This is going on less than a day’s drive away, almost close enough to say “A massacre is happening walking distance from my house.” Close enough to feel the energetic reverberations of death throes and screams of anguish; of the cold and hunger of those on the streets in the winter rain with NOWHERE TO GO. It’s no wonder my blood pressure is high. And we go to concerts and parties, drink coffee with our friends, cook for Shabbat, complain about the weather… Because yes, our lives need to go on while theirs end, get that, WHILE THEIR LIVES END, but the cognitive dissonance between what is going on in two places so close to one another is insane and insidious.

Where the f*>k is the UN now? And Obama? And the EU? Where are all those that jump to condemn Israel for every military operation in Gaza? A massacre of completely other proportions is taking place, visible to all in real time, and the world leaders are silent. That silence is too familiar. And utterly incomprehensible.

About the Author
Ruthi Soudack, originally from Vancouver, arrived in Jerusalem for a short visit three days after the beginning of the first intifada, and has been here ever since. She is a traveller, yoga teacher, writer, translator, editor, storyteller, musician, and occasionally, a stand-up comic.