Last month I wrote an apology to a friend in Aleppo. This is his response:
...I have been reading this apology over and over to not miss any important part. It has come from the bottom of a pure heart. It is not your fault at all and it has never been! It is all because of politics. It is all because of what we call as borders and countries...I have always been dreaming to live a life where all people feel they are equal and come from one family as my parents taught me many years ago. May Allah bless you and all Americans who are advocating for ending the wars and discrimination, and who open their hearts and homes for innocent people....
Just a few weeks ago, I traveled to the border of Syria where I heard stories of heroes in the face of untold violence. Like my friend in Aleppo, I apologized to them on behalf of my country, assuring them that many Americans care about their plight despite what they see and hear in the news.
But today, in light of the chemical attacks this week in Syria, my apology feels like a tin pail failing down cellar stairs, noisy and without hope or even consolation. Our lack of concern, let alone any action as a nation, leaves me speechless. What can I say to my friend in Aleppo, not to mention the millions of Syrians suffering the affects of a war in its 6th year? And can we offer anything but the same silence to our friends in South Sudan, Somalia or Yemen? Is this what "American First" means? Is this what it means to "Make American Great Again"?
God forgive us.
It's never too late to do the right thing. Now is the time for a collective shout. If you go to church or temple, ask your Pastor or Rabbi why we are not talking about Syria, South Sudan or Yemen. If you write, pick up your pen now. If you advocate, raise your voice. Main Street, Wall Street and Independence Avenue are only a phone call away. The children of Syria, the Moms of South Sudan and the Father's of Yemen are listening for your response to their urgent plea.