This image of Omran Daqneesh went viral after the Syrian child was recovered from rubble at an apartment Aleppo.

LETTERS: Reactions to a world in crisis


Re: Some of us do nothing as the world burns, Sept. 9 column.


Re: Some of us do nothing as the world burns, Sept. 9 column.

I feel a need to respond to editor Lance Peverley’s most candid and thought-provoking column.

Having just read my brochure from Doctors Without Borders, I found it very timely. This month’s focus was on forcibly displaced people, and the desperate search for a “human response.” This displacement is on a scale not seen before, i.e. 65.3 million.

On reading those numbers and accompanying tragic tales, my mind is totally overwhelmed and just ‘shuts down.’ All of us have our own problems.

For example, when the Syrian refugees come to Canada, one might ask an acquaintance, “Are you considering taking a refugee into your home?” Don’t be surprised if he replies, “Are you kidding? My son and his family live with us; they can’t find anywhere to live they can afford.”

One can hardly be judgmental. Things are much tougher today than they were a few years ago.

My mind goes to St. Therese of the Society of the Little Flower. Humble people and small things were her focus. The tapestry of life is made up of countless little acts that make all the difference to the world. The occasional big act of heroism comes seldom in one’s life.

How then to apply this profound truth to the overwhelming problem the world faces?

I don’t think taking a can of soup to the food bank will cut it. I have read, however, that in the case of our own refugees, there is a desperate need for classes in English. Waiting lists are months-long. This stands foremost in the way of helping our new Canadians get a start. People offer them jobs, but they can’t speak the language.

Is it too much to ask a person to give, say, three hours a week to teach English? An afternoon spent with a Syrian family could be the start of making him feel at home.

There are countless small ways in which we could do our share to mitigate this global problem. We all have gifts to bring to the problem, most of which we never thought of. The trick is to follow through. Involve the children. It will be one of the most important lessons they ever learn – the lasting value of a small act of human kindness.

Sybil Rowe, Surrey

• • •

It is true that a picture of sadness and grief can arouse in the hearts of most viewers wishful thoughts to make the world a better place. Gratefully, millions do do something to make those thoughts a reality – they give their time, energy and money to charities; they pray; they extend a helping hand whenever the opportunity comes their way.

But still the world burns.

That fact alone should make it clear we need to make changes in what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Merrill Muttart, White Rock

• • •

My emotional reaction to events in the Middle East has been the polar opposite from yours, that of unparalleled anger at the suffering of countless men, women and children throughout the Arab world, which brings me to you invoking the image of Omran Daqneesh as the victim of a Syrian/Russian airstrike in Aleppo.

The same day it went viral, the American blogger Stephen Lendman exposed it as a fraud in the same vein as the video of the distraught nurse, who gave false evidence in Washington during the first Gulf war as to who killed the children in the hospital. She turned out to be the Kuwait ambassador’s daughter who had just had a crash course in method acting.

B. McCombie, Surrey

(Editor’s note: My column does not state who bombed the five-year-old’s home… only that I did nothing to help.)

• • •

I hear you brother…

Sympathy is well and good, but it’s not the solution.

I tell myself that we try to give our vote to politicians who hopefully support more aid to all these struggling countries. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough power to ‘call the shots’ or they have to remain impartial in order to keep some reasonable semblance in the world.

In reality, I see the horrors on TV. Every day lives are lost, men, women and children drowning at sea, being shot down in cold blood, carnage everywhere. And we can only turn away from all the bloodshed.

Those who rule the world only spew diatribes and rhetoric, but nothing seems to get accomplished.

Anyway, I listen to my Neil Young CDs and sympathy flows through me, for all it’s worth.

Doriana Barros, White Rock



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