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War invades us…



Letter from Alep Nº 26 (June 27, 2016)

04/07/2016: Syria

War invades us…  

War has installed itself at our table, in our hearts and our minds…
It seeps our daily life and transforms it… 

War is there

It comes to announce suffering and death…
It comes to tell us that it is necessary to hate… that it is necessary to destroy bridges and relationships… 

War is there

Its machines are functioning to full force… its drums beat strongly, loudly
It comes to transform our nights into a lightning and the heat of our days into a furnace…  

War is there…  

It gets our hands dirty…  
It obliges so many innocent people to take up the arms…, to bombard…, to kill and above all, to eliminate the other, all others… 

War is there…  

It has installed itself in infernal machines…
It travels toward destinies of death…
It does not stop…  
It vomits death and continues on its way shouting.  

War is there…  

It gathers the children and puts them into trucks like boxes of sardines…, piled up… burnt by the only desire to kill…  
Neither the tears of the mothers, nor the screams of the other children have an echo…  
They want to play as heroes…  
Some will celebrate it in the ambulances…
Others will do it, lying down on the ruins of no-life... 

War is there…  

It tells us: “I do not leave you… I love you so much… I want you…, I desire you…, I caress you… I invite you to my banquet…, do not miss this appointment …”

This is its address…  Alep, Shame Street, building of misery, floor of suffering…  

War is our daily life.  

We refuse to participate in its banquet…  
We opt for life…  
We choose the other…, in his misery and in his will to live and to survive.  

For them, for every child, for every man and every woman, for all those who suffer because of this war, we have opted to extend out our hand… to construct a bridge, to throw down a wall of shame and of exclusion… We choose to give, to give ourselves... 

We choose to be instruments of the gift of God… we choose the path that leads to life…  


Mohamad is a boy of the Project “I want to learn”.  Since the end of the school year, he is working.  Like every day, he has just called me to ask for us.  

On Wednesday, June 1, 2016 (World day of Prayer for the children of Syria), I wrote to him the following message:   

"You have just refreshed us in the source of peace!”

"Hello, good morning, I want to speak with Brother George!”

I will never forget your voice… You called me to have news from us.  You wanted to know if we are well.  And however, I am the one who should have done it: call you and know how you are, how did you spend the night.  Have you been in the basement? Has a mortar fallen near you? How are Omar and Doha? Have they slept? And you, dear friend, my little one 10 years old, how are you? Have you been able to have breakfast? Did you go to get some water to wash yourself and to clean the house? How many buckets did you get? And the bread, who went to get it?  What have you done to get a supply of gas? Have you installed the ammeter?  

I know that you are at work! I am not surprised.  I know that if you and your brother work you support your mother.  You work hard, more than 10 hours a day.  

After the education project ended, you are working…  I do not dare to say anything… In order to take care of the minimum needs of your family you need to work.  I am aware of this.  Where are your rights?  How do you live this injustice? 

Your smile does not leave me. You have just illumined our life. You have just told us all the happiness in the world. You have just refreshed for us the source of peace. 

"Hello, good morning Mohamad, I want to tell you some good news:  

Today you are present in the prayer of many Friends…  No, not only you, but all the children of Syria… I think of George, the newly born baby, who was just baptized, of Elias who was killed by a mortar, in Hussain who has gone far away from the hell of Alep.  I think of Israa who became sick because he left the nursery school of the Marists.  I think of the children who come every day to get a hot meal, I think of Maufid whose mother told me he had a terrible phobia that paralyzes him, I think of one or other of the epileptic children and of so many other children whose parents come to ask for diapers.  

Mohamad, you and many others are the center of the world.  Many persons all over the world pray for you at this moment.  

And we, Marists that together with you we dream with a world of peace and justice, we want to tell you: For you we will continue on the way of solidarity, we will build for you a world without war, we will do everything possible so that your life may be a hymn to peace!”  


For him, for his parents and for many families, these commitments are reflected in our different projects.  

The “baskets of food” are distributed regularly.  Each family also receives a health basket and 4000 Syrian pounds that represent the monthly payment for the electric generator.  

At the beginning of summer, every member of our families received a new pair of shoes. 

The project “civilians wounded by war this month has been able to save some persons hurt by the bomb-shells of the mortars that fell abundantly. 

In spite of the difficulty of providing a supply of milk, especially that for the children of less than one year of age, we have been able to assure it regularly to all the children who benefit of the Program “Drop of Milk”.  

Many families come to us asking that we help them to rent a house. Some families are obliged to abandon their neighborhood which suddenly has become a place of great danger and risk. 

The city has suffered numerous times for the lack of water.  Our four vans go through all the neighborhoods to distribute 500 liters for each apartment. 

After some time of pause during the month of Ramadan, the Project “MIT” launched a new program of formation for the months of July and August.    

The children of “I want to learn” have spent a week in a summer camp with the theme “Tinker bell».   The older children among them have spent two nights.  It was the first time that they lived this experience.   

The young adolescents have resumed their activities in the Project of the “Skill School”.   They want “to dream and be creative”. 

On June 6 we opened our new “Summer-Place , where every afternoon, approximately 100 families come to our house to spend some leisure time… the children enjoy the playground that we have recently  arranged and the parents meet to breathe some fresh air, take a cup of coffee and above all, find themselves in a safe place.   

I end with the words of Brother Emili, Superior General, when he addressed himself to the young people of the “Skill School” on the occasion of the launching of its theme of the summer activities:

"You, young people, are called to listen to your hearts to discover which is your dream… You need moments of silence… Do not allow the Masters of war to rob your dreams…”  


Alep, June 27, 2016 

Br. Georges SABE 

For the Blue Marists 

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