Friday, July 20, 2012

A Note to the Syrian Opposition

As violence in Syria escalates, I am haunted by my memories of Beirut during Lebanon's civil war. For a number of reasons, chief among them the weak and self-interested so-called leaders, armed groups on all sides of the conflict forgot what they were fighting for. Life for most became "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" to quote Hobbes. 

Back to Syria... I am by no means advocating the return to an unjust peace. Assad 's reign must end quickly and a new democratic Syria must emerge. But until that happens, I hope the armed opposition does not lose sight of the goals of the uprising--freedom, dignity and democracy. Yes, war is messy and atrocities are committed by all sides, but I have high hopes for the good Syrian people. Be better than Assad and his thugs. Be kinder. Be more honest, more authentic, more decent.  Be more human.  

Below is a poem I wrote a while ago about the militia boys in Beirut.  Please don't forget like they did.  

For the Boys

Stores are closed; buildings seem empty.
Streets are deserted, littered, silent and dusty.
Where in the world have they gone?
The children’s voices, the birds, the crickets,
The street vendors, the car horns, the school buses.
They've all gone away, scattered like terrified prey.
But the boys--they are here to stay.
Yes, the boys with their AK47s, RPGs and grenades.
Their jeeps speed through the city, patrolling they say.
But there’s no one to watch over; no living soul needs care.
The tanks roll through with nothing leading the way,
No purpose, no ideal, no moral or value to spare.
Fighting for a cause long forgotten, an enemy without a face.
There are no laws, no reverence and no grace.
I pray for this country—Lord, for the boys I pray.
Born into war, darkness, hate and despair.
I pray they know the sweet scent of roses and jasmine past, before death and decay.
I pray they find love, hope, joy, a future --and peace if they dare. 
For the boys, Lord I pray.