Thursday, January 07, 2016

Madaya, the world is insane

In the old Tamil language, is a word "madaya"--to refer to person who behaves crazily.  A slight twist to the pronunciation and it is the name of a town in Syria that I hadn't known about until I read in the news.  One of those instances that reinforces the notion that no-news is good-news.

What about Madaya?  It is "a Syrian town besieged by the army of President Bashar al-Assad."
Civilians in Madaya, near the Lebanese border, say people are beginning to starve to death and children are severely malnourished after weeks with no adequate food.
The 40,000 residents of the town have been under siege for seven months by Syrian government forces and Hezbollah militias.
It is not as if Madaya is in some remote corner of the country.  It is "about 25km (15 miles) north-west of Damascus and 11km from the border with Lebanon."  In case we wonder why they haven't fled like the hundreds of thousands of other Syrians, the town is "surrounded by landmines."
It's not clear why Madaya shot to such prominence, given that other rebel-held areas, such as some of the Damascus suburbs, have been besieged for much longer. Perhaps Madaya was easier to seal off completely. Some blockades are quite porous.
But wounded pro-government fighters recently evacuated from rebel-besieged villages in the north also described people desperately eating grass to survive.
In my job and in my personal life, I try to be as optimistic as possible.  But, the events over the last month have seriously dented my optimism.  After a long, long, time, I begin a new year with nothing but apprehension and worry.  Things are not adding up well.

The town is at 1,400 meters (about 4,500 feet) elevation, which will make it that much more difficult during these winter months:
Conditions have worsened with the onset of winter.
"People here have started eating earth because there's nothing left to eat," Madaya resident Abdel Wahab Ahmed, told the BBC on Thursday. "Grass and leaves have died because of the mounting snow."
Under siege and with winter in an elevation means nothing to eat:
Families are eating leaves, grasses and water flavoured with spices in the town of Madaya, where rice is sold by the gram because a kilogram costs as much as $250 (£170). Some have killed and eaten their pets.
“People are dying in slow motion,” said Louay, a social worker from the town told the Guardian in a phone interview, his voice weakened by months of abject hunger. “We had some flowers growing in pots at home. Yesterday, we picked the petals and ate them, but they were bitter, awful.”
Six months into the siege, the people have practically given up:
“Here, we no longer call on anyone,” said Louay. “We have called for help so many times and nobody has heard us. But we want to ask the officials and decision-makers out there, if you were in this position, and your children were dying from hunger in front of you, what would be your reaction to the world outside that let you down? Don’t forget to ask your readers this question.”
Readers?  In America?  Here in this country where the oxygen in the news has been sucked out by the crazies of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and the whole line up?  Here in Oregon where the news oxygen has been sucked up by gun-carrying crazy white men who want to "reclaim" as their land that once belonged to the Paiute?

The world is not insane. It is fucked up! :(


Ramesh said...

Sad sad place Syria is. I hope all the people who are wrecking havoc on the poor Syrians rot in hell, suffer eternal damnation and before they reach there, suffer every misery that life can throw on them.

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, the people causing the suffering on the innocent deserve the worst ever ... I cannot believe how long the Syrian crisis has been going on ... I am willing to bet that future historians will find the global apathy to be inexplicable :(

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