Saturday, December 24, 2016

Aleppo, Christmas 2016

At this time that, in the Christian culture, is holy and one focused on love and peace, it is sad to reflect on how much conflict and sadness there actually is in the world.

This was brought to mind by my coming across a series of before and after photographs taken in Aleppo.

Some quick background: 
  • Aleppo is a city in Syria, for centuries the region's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo.
  • According to the 2004 census, it had an official population of 2,132,100, making it Syria’s largest city.
  • It is an ancient city and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world It may have been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC.
  • The Syrian civil war is a complex political and power struggle.
  • The Arab Spring led to unrest that escalated into the current civil war after President Bashar al-Assad's government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. The Syrian government has since then refused efforts to negotiate with what it describes as armed terrorist groups.
  • The war is being fought by several factions: the Syrian Government and its various supporters, a loose alliance of Sunni Arab rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), the majority Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front) who often co-operate with the Sunni rebels, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
  • Syrian opposition groups formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and seized control of the area surrounding Aleppo and parts of southern Syria. Over time, factions of the Syrian opposition split from their original moderate position to pursue an Islamist vision for Syria, as al-Nusra Front and ISIL.
  • International organisations have accused the Syrian government, ISIL and other opposition forces of severe human rights violations and of many massacres.
  • The conflict has caused a refugee crisis.
It is against that background that the sadness was brought home by the before and after photographs. The fact that the photographs show not human misery but instead depict the environment is representative of what the ordinary people have lost: lives, homes, businesses.

The photographs come from the website of the Olympia Restaurant in Aleppo. Since 2014 the restaurant has been posting photographs of the destruction and loss, with comparisons prior to the civil war. The Facebook page states:
Images shows how it was our beloved city Aleppo and how it is now after sabotage and destruction and looting and burning the monuments and historical places, old houses, mosques, churches and the historical old markets (Souks) which are classified as Sites of World Heritage by UNESCO since 1986.






No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.