Syria vigil and fast
By Michelle Hough, communications officer with Caritas Internationalis
The first time I ever heard of Damascus was in the story of the conversion of Saint Paul. It’s a story that speaks of the possibility of change and forgiveness; where dark hearts are flooded with light and those who persecute can go on to do good.
I was in St Peter’s Square on Saturday night along with around 100,000 people, leaders of other faiths, prelates, Caritas colleagues (thanks to Alfonso for saving me a seat!), Italian politicians and of course Pope Francis to pray for such a change of heart regarding Syria.
As dusk descended over Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said, “God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the […]
“We had a lovely life,” said Gharam, an 11-year-old Syrian refugee now in Lebanon. “I went to school. I had friends. I was happy.”
That way of life has been torn apart in Syria’s brutal civil war.
Gharam lived Hassakeh in the north-east of Syria. “The most frightening thing was the bombing,” she said. Now her school has been destroyed and she has seen the homes of her friends flattened.
What began with kids writing anti-regime graffiti on a wall in the Syrian town of Deraa in March 2011 has been transformed into a brutal civil war in Syria and the largest humanitarian crisis Caritas is working in today.
There are at least 100,000 people dead, nearly 7 million people in Syria needing aid and 4 million forced from their homes within the country. Over 1.7 million people have fled to neighbouring countries.
But the figures don’t adequately reflect the true cost of the […]
By Patrick Nicholson
“There were bodies everywhere,” said Ali. “We had two choices if we wanted to live: Turkey or Lebanon. We came to Lebanon because I thought I would find work.”
Ali (49), Aaicha (34) and their five children came to Lebanon 18 months ago from Idlib in north-western Syria. The deciding factor was when the next door house was hit by a rocket, killing 18 people.
Life in Syria had gotten progressively worse for them since the start of the conflict in early 2011. There was no electricity or running water. Inflation was rampant. What cost 15 Syrian pounds before the war, now cost 150 Syrian pounds.
“You had to stand in line for three hours just to buy bread,” said Ali. And then there were the bombs, rockets and air attacks.
When they first arrived in Lebanon, the family lived in a small tent. Now they rent a room in Mount […]
By Patrick Nicholson
Since the start of the conflict in 2011 in Syria, over 1.7 million people have fled to neighbouring countries. Lebanon has received the largest number of refugees in the region. Although there are half a million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, the true number is estimated to be beyond 1 million.
Every day, Caritas staff meets hundreds of new arrivals from Syria, each with their own account of the horrors they’ve seen. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. “When I hear all their stories, it feels like my head will explode,” said Mireille, a Caritas social worker in Beirut.
Suitable accommodation has long since run out in the small country, and the refugees must find anywhere they can for shelter. Caritas Lebanon is providing aid and care to the Syrian refugees wherever they might be.
Khatar (42) lives with her six children in a cowshed on a farm in the Bekaa […]
By Caritas Lebanon Under the theme “Live with us… You’ll understand”, around 400 Caritas Lebanon young volunteers gathered in the Saint Joseph Theater (Cornet Chehwan) on Sunday 26 May 2013, in presence of His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Bishop Gabriele Caccia, Antelias Maronite Bishop Camille Zeidan and Caritas Lebanon President Fr. Simon Fadoul. Members of the Bureau, the Regions and the Sectors, as well as Caritas Director and National Chaplain also attended the ceremony. Many activities followed Caritas Youth coordinator and MC Elie Kadamani’s word of welcome. On several occasions, Sector Rmeil young volunteers performed a spiritual dance to the jingle “Live with us… You’ll understand!” to teach it to participants, and a spiritual scene was played by Saida Sector’s volunteers. The Tripoli Hip Hop Revolution Troupe presented scenes and songs describing young people’s life in Tripoli and how […]
Caritas has been responding to the needs of Syrians since the first days of the crisis in March 2011, supporting both those inside the country and refugees throughout the region. Caritas has helped more than 100,000 people in need, without discrimination.
However, this is only a temporary remedy. There cannot be an end to the suffering of the Syrian population as long as the fighting continues.
The situation today is desperate. It must stop. Caritas is deeply concerned about the rising number of victims, especially civilians who live in constant fear and in precarious conditions inside Syria. Neighbouring countries have generously kept their borders open, but the rising flow of refugees has brought them economically and socially to their limits.
“What will happen to us, to my family, to my children? Our houses and cities are bombed and all our lives are wounded. I never thought that I was going to look […]