Cry Beloved Nation

ams-cry-beloved-nation-1.JPGJarmana, Syria ~ one of the most prevalent challenges faced by the Iraqi refugees is how to receive “just-in-time” financial aid and medical assistance.

Two million exiled Iraqis have fled their country, prior to, but especially since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the U.S. occupation, where the streets of Jarmana, a city south ams-cry-beloved-nation-2.JPGof Damascus, holds their relentless dreams, as well as the tears of an Iraqi mother who has been diagnosed with cancer, but can not afford treatments, and thus her three daughters hit the city streets at night to offer their young bodies, in an exchange for money, before it’s time for their mother’s next chemotherapy session.

Tel-Tamer, Syria ~ the death toll of Iraqi-Assyrians has reached hundreds. Father Bakus of Mar Sargis Church holds a Christian funeral sermon, while Romeo Iraqi and Rama Iskander of the Assyrian Aid Society wake up at 5 a.m. to dig into the fresh grounds of this beautiful Assyrian village, where they will wash and lay to rest the bodies of their dead, some family, many friends, from their ancestral homeland ~ Iraq, all buried without caskets. Each casket in Syria costs 20,000 Syrian Liras (“SL), while morgue refrigeration for a body is 6,000 to 7,000 SL.

Like other Middle-Eastern countries where healthcare is subsidized by the government, public hospitals in Syria rank among the highest in death rate within the region, due to malpractice. Known for administering the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of medication, patients turn up in the morgue by the morning. “Syria’s healthcare, despite improvements in recent years, exhibits significant disparities in availability, and key indicators in Syria show that infectious diseases and illnesses remain serious problems.”

A few weeks ago Tahreer Al-Zubaidy, 28, collapsed at the center of the Assyrian Aid Society while seeking assistance for her ovarian tumor. She was rushed to St. Louis Hospital in Damascus where she underwent an emergency operation.

Mental illnesses, including major depressive disorders have become very popular among the Iraqis, due to high levels of stress. While depression and premature aging are interrelated, a 30-year-old male, who suffers from clinical depression, is mistaken for a 60 year-old.

An occupied apartment that is rented for 1,200 SL to a family of five is suddenly vacated and re-rented to another newly-arrived Iraqi family for 1,500 SL.

Yet, despite these dominating conditions in which they continue to live, Syria remains among the “best” host for Iraqi refugees in the Middle East by long shot.

These are only samples of the stories that tell of what the Iraqis are facing today while in refuge. And while the end always justifies the means, these are the means by which they are living ~ hostile, degrading, inhumane conditions. Nothing short of injustice to humanity, there is no running, nor hiding from the certainty of the dysfunction that the multiple wars and a U.S. led embargo of nearly thirteen years have served ~ a nation in exile, women in prostitution, premature birth defects, and high death rate. It has brought this old civilization down on its knees, pushed its population across international borders, by whatever means possible, crimes of hatred, rape, harassment, and even church bombings.

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~ Helen Talia, MBA, CPA
Director, Chicago

Source: Wikipedia