Nabil Antaki – for the Blue Marists
It is beautiful this Sunday morning of March, a blue sky, a radi- ant sun which warms; the cease- re which entered into force two weeks ago urged people to be optimistic. The rst days, it was respected. The noise of the birds when waking up in the morning replaced the noise of the bombs.
Electricity and water came back during two days after a total interruption of several months. The people of Aleppo spent white nights washing, taking a bath, lling the reservoirs with water being afraid that the provisioning of water and elec- tricity would be only temporary as it was the case on several occasions in the past.
Unfortunately, this short bright interval lasted only some days. Then the snipers began again their dirty work killing innocent civilians. Then the shells of the mortars began again to fall on certain neighborhoods, the terrorist group holding the best part. The east of the town was not concerned about the truce.
The provisioning of water and electricity was once again interrupted. Even if it was reestablished, the people from Aleppo knew that the regime of rationing was going to begin again, water, one day a week and electricity two hours a day. In spite of everything, this morning, everybody has a smile on the lips and hope in the heart.
These last times the events have succeeded one another: the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Syrians towards Europe causing tensions among the European countries and among the inhabitants of the same country; The o ensive of the Syr- ian army on the governorate of Aleppo to liberate our city be- sieged since three years and a half ago by the terrorist group Al Nosra.
The cease- re proclaimed, not always respected, in force since 15 days ago; It concerns the Syrian State and about one-hundred groups of rebels but not the two principal ones unanimously considered as terrorists. The blocking of the only road (attacked by the armed groups) that joins Aleppo with the rest of the country, during 8 days with the conse- quent interruption of the provision of essential products to the city, and this only a few days before the sad 5th anniver- sary of the beginning of the war in Syria.
Is this the beginning of the end of the nightmare? The cease- re is it the prelude of a political solution coming soon? The Western countries submerged or overwhelmed by the mil- lions of refugees, have they decided to hasten the political solution in order to stop the migratory ow? Finally, are they going to let us live in peace again among us, the Syrians as we have done during centuries? Is it necessary to be optimistic
and hope or realistic and remain expecting? These questions, at present without any response, the Syrians in general and the people from Aleppo in particular ask themselves through- out the day.
In waiting, we, the Blue Marists, continue our solidarity work with the displaced families and/or without resources. Rami one of our volunteers, asked me the other day: “Why do you insist in saying that we are an association of solidarity and not a humanitarian organism?”
The response is evident. For us, Blue Marists, the “bene – ciaries” are not numbers on the lists; they are not virtual be- ings to feed, to lodge and to take care of; they have a name. Behind each name, there is a face; there is a human person with his past history, sometimes unfortunate, plunged into mourning, his dramas, su erings, his broken dreams, his fu- ture mortgaged; but also, a person who has desires and pro- jects. We want to establish with them a relationship that will allow them, in spite of everything, to keep their dignity, their humanity and a certain hope.