An Open Letter from the Syrian Border

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Dear America,

Self-proclaimed Christian nation, I wish the lives of others mattered to you as much as Starbucks coffee cups. I know the guy you call savior instructed you to love others as yourselves but that seems to have become more of a catchy phrase than an actual command to live by.

A few days ago, a handful of miles north of where I am sitting right now, a chemical attack massacred innocent Syrian children as they slept. As the internet floods with yet more images of small, limp, lifeless bodies piling up, my heart falls apart knowing this just adds to the atrocities the world watches yet refuses to respond to with love.

You see, yesterday I spent the afternoon with one of the most beautiful and kind families I have ever encountered. They are refugees from Syria and like millions of others, they have lost everything while going through the unimaginable. After fleeing their homes, everything they have ever known, they are now stranded on the border of Jordan as the majority of the world doesn’t seem to care more than expressing a shallow sense of sorrow at what “those poor people” have to go through.

Where is our true compassion? If we were able to find any speck of empathy within our souls, we would quickly sacrifice what we Americans so often cling to - time, money, refuge, and our self-absorbed fears. However, our shallow comforts as well as our privilege of apathy are taking precedent over the lives of others.

If it truly mattered to us, our outrage over Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body on the beach or the heart wrenching footage of Omran Danqneesh would have led us to action. Our entire world was so outraged, right? Yet how many pursued love?

How many more children have to be needlessly slaughtered for us to decide their lives actually matter? Are our hearts so hard that the death of small children doesn’t inflict true compassion in us?  In the self-proclaimed Christian nation of the world, why has apathy overruled the ways of Jesus’ bold love of the other?

American Christians, please tell me why you look nothing like your savior who doesn’t love based on nationality, race, or religion. Please, tell me why you are exclusive to the point the most vulnerable needlessly suffer and are being slaughtered. Please help me understand why you choose apathy, comfort, and self-absorption over the great command of Jesus. Please help me understand why my beautiful joyful 9 year old Syrian friend could lose her life tomorrow and the picture of her dead body would be but a vague moment of sadness in your day.

As you hail your president for bombing an Assad airbase, ask yourself, is this how we love those who have suffered immeasurably? Don’t forget that it was but a handful of days ago this same president authorized airstrikes killing yet more innocent Syrian children.

Don’t be fooled, compassion elicits kindness, not revenge. True compassion towards these beautiful children would be simple enough as offering our hand, offering a place of refuge, not more bombs, not more war.

I wish we could see the humanity that we are missing, how much these lives truly matter. I wish it mattered like it matters to the one you call savior, the guy who always loved first, the most radical peacemaker in history. I wish we weren’t too afraid to embrace the way of bold love. I wish we would let love win.

Sheri RosendahlComment