So, it's just a few days before Christmas, and I'm not the cheeriest person around. I live in a little hamlet in a sleepy, touristy little corner of Southern Ontario, where the snow remains nice 'n white 'n crisp for most of the winter- there isn't a lot of road traffic down here in winter. Colourful lights on the trees and large plastic Santas and present-packed sleighs anchored in the yards of houses along Main Street brighten the dark nights, and make the village look quaint and postcard-like. Everyone else is wishing everyone else season's greetings, and there are house dinner parties just about every night. Lots of friends, food, drink, laughter. And when I see people here, there's nice hugging, chatter. I enjoy these get-togethers tremendously. But beneath it all, at the side of it all, I feel terror, I feel on guard, as if we're all on the verge of something dark and unknown. Beneath it all, I am constantly wondering what has happened to Bana and her mother and siblings. Her father was hurt the other day. They've lost just about everything. After the news on the tv this morning, that Aleppo has just about fallen, I have this awful feeling that we're not going to hear from Bana or her mother again. I tweeted to her a couple times, sending her words of courage and love, but I couldn't after those two times, because I felt that I couldn't offer her what she needed more than words. She and her family needed, like everyone else in Aleppo, to get out of there alive and in as whole a piece as possible. What was I offering her in the light of the news we were hearing daily, and in the light of what Russia and China were doing and not doing? The hope of just living a day or two or three longer? I couldn't bear it. So I read her posts, listened for news about her, despaired, but didn't write her.
We engage in charity giving down here, and know that there's a lot of poverty, abuse, negligence that needs taking care of in our backyard so to speak, but here we can rant and give and do, and things can change even if slowly. But I look at photos of Syria, at the vast stretches of cities that had clearly once been crammed with apartment buildings, at their mountains of remains, every single building either turned to rubble or eviscerated, and know that I, and the millions of people around the world who care, can't really do a thing. And I learn this morning that Exxon's Rex Tillerson, friend of Putin, decorated by Putin, is Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of State, in an administration that is top heavy with military brass, and people whose minds and hearts I cannot understand, people who hate- or perhaps not hate, but don't enough care about- other human beings, and I think that here in this little corner of Ontario just across the water from New York state we are not really all that safe. It's not proximity, but ideology floating in the air, like a very dangerous pollution. I can't help but connect Bana's bombed-out homeland with Russia's refusal to agree to a ceasefire, and to see why Assad is doing to his own people with Trump's stacking of his administration with billionaires and military men and, now, this particular oil man, and Trump's affinity for real estate development. I wonder about Trump's motives, is it possible that he might just drag the world into a terrible situation so that he and Putin can rule, can rebuild the bombed-out real estate landscape, putting up business towers, apartment buildings, golf courses, shopping centres, carving out resorts, and reaping the oil? I wonder what he see when he looks at Syria. Does he see opportunity? Might he be thinking he and Putin will be the kings of the world in just weeks, might he be thinking that there can really only be one king in the end. Might Putin be thinking the same sorts of things? What did people in Europe, in Germany, see, but did not bother to see in 1933, 1934, 1935? We keep saying that things might get real bad, but I wonder if they have gotten real bad already, but we're still imagining the horror to be what Bana and her family are actually experiencing? Is it 1933, or is it now 1935, or have we already arrived at the 2016 version of 1936, with the possibility of warfare today being quite different looking and feeling on the skin that in did during the last World War? These are the things on my mind. So I'm not very cheerful these days, and not great conversation company, because it soothes me to speak about this, as if airing it, hearing what my friends have to say about it all, and what they're doing about it, tames it. Or, whatever. Whatever.
In any case, what I meant to say at the beginning, is this: despite my concerns, I want to wish all my friends, family, loved ones and acquaintances, a Very Happy Holiday Season, and a Bright and Happy New Year.