Leila Buck

The struggle for balance

It has been much harder to write from here than from Lebanon or Syria. And I realize now that this is what I need to tell you all today. Especially today - because the reasons I haven’t been writing are I think an example of the obstacles we face as loving, caring people in this violent, angry world. I cried all day when I arrived in Jordan - for many reasons - but mainly because it felt so removed, so distant not just geographically, but mentally and emotionally, from the devastation being wreaked on Lebanon. Every day since, I have struggled here with the balance that plagues so many of us: How to participate in both our own daily lives and the world that often seems so distant from them. 

A night at the symphony in Damascus

Salaam a’laykum - peace be upon you. The greeting used by Arabs and Muslims all over the world - and for the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, a poignant reminder that peace is a precious thing. Seeing the images of massacre at Qana today I don’t know where to begin - or how to stop crying. I feel I can only convey fragments - perhaps because my heart is breaking. I’m trying hard not to seem melodramatic, because I know how it is there - you read this in the midst of a long, exhausting, busy day and too many of these and it’s too much to bear, it feels so far away. 

From Syria, with love

It has been demonstrated time and time again (Iraq, Palestine and now Lebanon come to mind) that demonizing people so you can feel better about destroying everything they hold dear is not the best route to peace in any region. Therefore, I would like to offer an alternative to counteract the fear-mongering demonization of Syria that seems to be the one thing our administration is now willing to stand for (besides doing the same to Iran): The Syrian people are some of the most welcoming, kind and forgiving people I have ever encountered. Some notes from today to illustrate this point follow. 

From Damascus

Every time you hear that Israel is “minimizing civilian casualties” with “surgical strikes”, know that the south of Lebanon and everyone in it, as well as those in the southern suburbs of Beirut, are decimated and continue to be bombed many times daily. Also know that Lebanon is the size of Rhode Island, or Connecticut - which one, I forget exactly - it’s small. So while bombing every bridge and road in and out of the country plus every port may seem to be better than targeting civilians, it is a slower and more insidious kind of targeting - a complete and knowing crippling of an entire nation’s ability to get help to those wounded or supplies to people who need them.