This is Syria - aftermath of war : a photo that changed Europe

September 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


People around the world were shocked to see the photograph of poor Aylan Kurdi washed up dead on a beach at Bodrum, Turkey. His father returned to Syria to bury his wife and two sons. His grief is unimaginable. Within a few days 350 000 signatures in the UK were amassed to demonstrate public support for the refugees; UK government policy changed. A single image can change the world. I too have witnessed the plight of the Syrian refugees - women and children pleading for sustenance on the streets, their menfolk dead. Whose heart does not weep when witnessing such tragedy. Please help all you can. The Archbishop of Canterbury gave strong leadership on this issue by stating that this was our moral duty. It is ironic that in a  secular state, the church and the populace, independently and in concert are leading the way ahead of government.

Similarly Hindus for millenia greet another and deities by raising their hands with the palms pressed together, the fingers pointing upwards and bow their heads, while saying the sanskrit word Namaskara. This symbolism reflects a fundamental precept of Hindu dharma, namely that there is no distinction between the divine and human beings. This was extended, analysed and clarified by Sri Adi Shankaracharya into Advaita philosophy.

Flowing from Namaskara, the symbol of mutual respect comes the concept of Seva - selfless service to man is equivalent to selfless service of the divine. Swami Vivekananda wrote extensively on this concept. Grandparents perform seva of the soiled newborn because the child is an incarnation of Lord Krishna. In the Alwar tradition of Tamil Nadu in India, an untouchable prays outside the temple until god calls him in. The priest hoists the devotee on his back, holds his legs with his own hands and brings him in to the sanctum sanctorum; the devotee becomes Thirupanalwar. The analogy with the Syrian refugees is clear and unambiguous - let us bring them in to the sanctum sanctorum of Europe on our backs. To help is to be divine. Let us remember this message on Janmaashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.

W H Auden (1907 - 73) wrote Refugee Blues in 1939, the eve of the Second World War - the words are still applicable today : 

Say this city has ten million souls,

Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:

Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,

Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:

We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.


In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,

Every spring it blossoms anew:

Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.


The consul banged the table and said, ‘If you've got no passport you're officially dead’:

But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;

Asked me politely to return next year:

But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;

‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’:

He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.


Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;

It was Hitler over Europe, saying, ‘They must die’:

O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.


Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,

Saw a door opened and a cat let in:

But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.


Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,

Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:

Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.


Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;

They had no politicians and sang at their ease:

They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.


Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,

A thousand windows and a thousand doors:

Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.


Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;

Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:

Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.


W. H. Auden


Hare Krishna, Hare Aum

A mother who doesn't know where to look because she is heartbrokenThis is Syria - aftermath of conflict; A mother who doesn't know where to look because she is heartbroken

A song by Marcos Vidal  - translated from Spanish:

" Have you ever looked into the eyes of a mother who doesn't know where look because she is heartbroken "

Has mirado alguna ves a los ojos de una madre 
que ni sabe donde mira porque acaba 
de perder el corazon 
has oido alguna vez como llora un niño pobre 
por que el hambre cuando aprieta 
ya hasta deja de ser hambre y es dolor 
has sentido alguna vez lo que siente un prisionero 
cuando ya sus piernas no pueden andar 
de puro miedo 
y tu escuchas su clamor 
y hasta sientes su dolor mientras gritan voceando 
no te quepa duda alguna te estan llamando 

has pensado alguna vez lo que sufre aquel que ama 
cuando la unica respuesta que recibe es tu rechazo 
y nada mas 
has sentido alguna ves un escalofrio extraño 
como si alguien te llamase a la distancia 
y no puedieras escuchar 
no lo dudews nunca mas 
y no intentes evadirlo 
pues te hara sentir pobre miserable y perseguido 
y si miras hacia atras 
hasta puede que quiza le descubras vigilando 
no te quepa duda alguna te esta buscando

This is Syria II - aftermath of conflict


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