gag-gle noun \ˈga-gəl\ : a group, aggregation, or cluster lacking organization, which is exactly how I feel about my family every day.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Political Post. Aleppo

During the presidential election, I had a satirical (and a bit hilarious) video show up in my Facebook feed.  Shareese was around when I started playing it, and she insisted that we watch it over and over again, calling Liam over to show him how funny it was.  I'm am certain that that irony and portrayals were completely lost on them, but they loved it anyway.

Even though the bulk of the video focuses on Hilary and the Donald, the very last few seconds introduce a joke about Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who asked "What is Aleppo" in an interview on MSNBC

Shareese and Liam thought this part was the funniest, and often repeated the question, "What's Aleppo?", followed by hysterical laughter.  The phrase has become a part of their playtime lexicon.  They say it whenever they want to be funny.  

Meanwhile, I'm seeing more information on social media about Aleppo, the rebel-held city in war-torn Syria that has become the center of the global refugee crisis.  I was particularly struck by a video of a child in an Aleppo hospital after he was caught in a gas attack.

I shared the video in my feed with the caption, "What's Aleppo? This is". 

Since then I've been following Syrian news and my heart is breaking.  I've seen pictures of bodies and destruction.  I've mourned over stories like "The Last Hospital In Eastern Aleppo Is No More" and "Aleppo's evacuated civilians face uncertain future in freezing war zones".

This morning my kids are out of school and I was doing some Christmas preparations.  Liam was playing around and I heard it again.  "What's Aleppo!" he shouted, and laughed.  I stopped.  He needed to know.  

"Follow me, both of you," I said to Shareese and Liam.  "I need to show you something."  I took them to the computer, thinking I would show them the video of the child in the hospital, but I didn't know how to find it quickly on Facebook.  So I Googled "Aleppo" and looked at the videos.  

The first one that pulled up was titled, "ISIS films themselves burning Turkish soldiers alive after capturing them in Aleppo".  I didn't show them that one.  Or one with pictures of dead babies covered in ash.  I picked one that showed the ruins of the buildings.

And while they watched the aerial footage of the bombed-out city, I told them about it.

Aleppo is a city in a country called Syria. In Syria, the president doesn't follow all the laws, and rules like a king even though they still call him a president.

Gasp! "That's mean!" Exclaimed Reese. "Why would he do that?"

Well, actually, there are a lot of countries around the world where the presidents don't want to give up their power, so when they are supposed to be done ruling, they change the rules, break the rules, or use the armies to hurt the people that don't agree with them so they can stay president.  That's one of the great things about America.  We live in a country where we are free to make our own decisions, and where our leaders follow the law.  That's one reason I was scared of President Trump being elected.  I'm afraid that he will not follow our laws. 

During the election, one of the people running for president didn't know what Aleppo was, and that's why it's silly to make fun of him when we say "What's Aleppo?" But I want you to know what Aleppo is, and why it's serious.

People who flee, or run away, from dangerous places like Syria are called refugees, and they try to come to safe places.

"Like here?"  Reese asked.  

Yes, but President Trump has already said that he doesn't want many of these people coming to our country.

"That's why he wants to build a wall,"  Liam remarked.  

Yes, he doesn't want people fleeing from Mexico and other places to come, but there are a lot of countries around the world that are having a hard time helping refugees, too.  

"There are people in the world that do really bad things,"  Shareese realized.  I felt a small bit of regret that I was chipping away some of their innocence, but I did not regret teaching them this lesson:

This is why I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that I live here in America.  I'm grateful that I live here in this house that keeps me warm, that I have food to eat.  I'm grateful that I live with my family.  Many families in Aleppo have been killed.  I'm grateful for what I have, and I will help those that need help whenever I can make a difference, and I hope that you will, too.

So it's okay for people to tease Gary Johnson for not knowing what Aleppo is, but I want you to know.

"Ok, Mama, " they both replied.  And they went back to the Christmas break monkeying around.  But I hope that they understood at least a little.


I know that I have some friends and family who voted for and support President-elect Trump, so I'm sorry that this got a little political. I am prepared to give him a chance and support him. Though I am hopeful, I'm simultaneously a little fearful of the future.

And I support helping refugees.

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