The day that the month long fast called Ramadan ends is normally a joyous occasion for Muslims across the globe, but this year, with nearly two million of their Syrian brothers and sisters stranded, and strife roaring through North Africa and the Levant, a deep shadow has grabbed hold of this year’s Eid al-Fitr holidays.
The Syrian travesty continues apace, tearing the country apart and displacing millions of people. Millions. After a hard winter and a harder summer, nearly two million Syrian refugees pass time in dreary camps throughout Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon.
In 2013, an influx of refugees crossed various borders seeking shelter, food, water, sympathy and help. And nearly three quarters of them are women and children who have lost their husbands, sons and brothers along the way, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
With so much suffering: lack of water, cramped quarters, substandard shelter, disease, rape, it’s hard to imagine how these innocent souls survive. UNHCR notes that five billion dollars is needed to help Syrians in and outside of the country – the biggest appeal for AID ever.
Syria’s wholesale destruction is fast becoming one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history, and for Muslims, who deeply value their clan, the ongoing conflict is a source of tremendous confusion, guilt, and sadness. Those emotions are shrouded in a sense of overwhelming hopelessness as the violence has now spilled over into Lebanon.
Aid workers are doing everything they can to make life for displaced Syrians as painless as possible. Innovative solutions for water and shelter are being tested, and aid organizations are campaigning tirelessly for help. But it isn’t enough.
There is never enough.
Ramadan is supposed to be a period for deep spiritual reflection that reinforces Muslim values. These are numerous, but charity is one of them. Remember the refugees during the holidays and please – lend a hand if you can.
Image of Syrian refugees, Shutterstock