Omran Daqneesh- Symbol of Innocence

I woke this morning, and as the typical fellow human with accounts to various social media sites/apps and started to check my feed. I noticed every so often that a particular post was ‘trending’ on my timeline.

Amidst the spectacle of the Rio Olympics, the circus of the world, the United States Presidential Election 2016; it was images of a weary-looking boy, sitting alone and bewildered after being plucked from a bombed building that could possibly once been his home.

Bloody, confused, scared, but most importantly-innocent, the world met 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. It was Omran who made the headlines, cover stories, that made the air strike attack in Aleppo go viral. It was images of this child that brought shock and revulsion from both Syrians and us ‘foreigners’ on social media around the globe.

Omran Daqneesh is now known as, “the boy in the ambulance”- which in retrospect, brought me back to the image of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian boy whose body was found washed up in a beach in Turkey a little over a year ago after his family attempted to escape the harshness of what’s presently going on in Syria. Then, it was Aylan’s body that brought the world’s attention to the growing refugee crisis, now its Omran’s.

The children, these families, individuals, masses who have lost their lives to a pointless war all because of conflicts caused by hate, why? Why is nothing being done? Is it because people are being misplaced by governments that only care to profit and care less about those caught in the crossfire? If we can stand up for a football team, why can’t we stand up for humans in need?

Truth be told, it is because our attention span to issues as tragic as this wavers. To be honest, yes, the image of the boy tugged at my heart for I am a sister, and as a general individual caught up in the medias various hyper-commercialism of things, the image of a child suffering is going to settle in the mind longer than had it been his entire family on the cover. He, as mentioned has become headlined in all major newsoutets, but what got me to writing was the fact that various sites have created him to be an emblem of despair for the country.

Would you want your child to be labeled a “symbol of suffering?” I should hope to think not. What’s worse, there are hundreds of other images of dead and injured children from Syria that are being shared daily on social media. Pieces of children’s bodies being pulled from rubble are photographed with appalling regularity in this war of indiscriminate attacks. Why make these children into the icons of war? Has Syria’s cries really not been heard thus far, so much that they are putting forth innocence to at least our heads turned to the screen for a second?

And here we are, in America, feeling sorry for the boy. Why? In the images, he has not shed one tear. Through this traumatic ordeal, he still faces life and moves on. The one thing call to mind is that this is children we are talking about. In no way should we be glorifying their suffering for a means to an end- in this case, war. There are other ways to go about this, but please, do not bring images of children who have unknowingly been afflicted by the world of hate and love. Protect the image of innocence, not enhance the suffering.

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A Crisis In Faith- The Church and Me

Going to church was never a regular habit growing up, partially because as a Malayalee, my parents wanted us to go to a Malayalee church, which several years back seemed to be nonexistent.

That doesn’t mean I never have gone to American services. I have gone to several over the span of my current life time and to compare the services of what is considered mainstream to traditional cultural rituals- well you just can’t.

I speak on my experiences and my experiences alone, so before I begin my reasoning’s with why I do not go to church I want to clarify- I am a baptized Christian of the Jacobite Orthodox faith and I do seek solace with the higher one above for peace of mind.

It’s so easy to treat Church and God as an addition. When we as individuals fall apart, we wonder as to why we go to church on Sunday, yet only seldom experience peace that surpasses all understanding, or we read the Bible that one time during the week, and wonder yet again as to why don’t we have any of the answers…

My family happened to be one of the founding members of the church they presently attend here in America, which at one point in my life I had avidly made it my ritual to attend as well. It was me who would excitedly wake up in the morning to get ready and wake the others in my household to attend church as well…for what- I honestly do not know. Perhaps the idea that we were finally becoming part of the community united under one belief, or perhaps the fact that after service, I get to mingle amongst people who share a similar belief…who knows. But whatever it shall be, I stopped going for the reason that the church has started to become a place of whomever has the better social/political class, better outfit of that day, to outshine and talk up their son/daughter for their teacher claims they are the next future Einstein, and of course the various gossiping…seeing all these started to bring a negative aura around the institution known as “church” and of course, me being a single, eligible Malayalee girl doesn’t help. The topic of marriage comes up on a constant basis, but that is beside the point…

In this sense, I have a difficult time believing that how churches are run today are what Christ had in mind. It’s become similar to a theatrical play- the spectators sit quietly waiting for the performance to begin each week; with grand drapes and glass structures, a beautiful showcase of the altar, someone leading the melodious hymns, and as this is all moving along, the spectators patiently wait for the one claimed to be closest with the Lord above to make his announcement of enlightenment for the week- only to then be encouraged to give ‘donations’ to institution.

The phrase, “going to church” turns church into somewhat a consumer experience. I could go or not go to church and either way, the driving force is not the church, nor the community, but ME. So, in addition to emulating a consumer patrons approach to ‘the church’, the language of “going to church” has thus reflected the individualism of our times. Furthermore, when we talk of “going to church” what we are usually doing is conflating church with church service, which there’s nothing wrong with going to church services, but when we speak as if that is our sole or primary experience of church, then we as ‘the good Christian’ are reducing our imaginations about what church is or could possibly be…

church

This being said, I believe God doesn’t want you to go to church on Sunday. He doesn’t want your offerings, attention, and he I’m pretty sure he’s not interested in how you sing your songs or whether your choir group is better than the other churches. In Mathews 16:24, “if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” So you see, the deity higher above doesn’t want what you could possibly give on a Sunday morning, he wants everything. Especially with how we live our current lives today, we seem to treat Him, and faith of any kind as an ‘addition’/extracurricular in our life.

You don’t have to do this by attending an “institution”/ “congregation”- you’re more than welcome to, but let me ask you, how often is it that you feel peace while attending the service under God? Do you feel any more enlightened than if you were to just pray in the comfortable sanctity of your home? The only missing aspect of praying at home is the people/community that may or may not be with you…

The disappointment and detachment I have with the Church does not mean I am not devoted to a faith in general. I just personally feel that the way these institutions are run have become more like businesses feeding off emotions and conceptualized ideals…Bringing people to a place each and every week to hear and witness pretty much the same exact service and preaches is a feat of its own…to make people feel that they have to go to church week after week or else God will be disappointed with you. If we think rationally about this, it is a ridiculous notion to think that anyone benefits much from sitting through a recap from something we already know, week after week, and it’s even more ridiculous to think that people “need” to be there week after week in order to grow spiritually.

Ultimately, the Church and Me have our differences. It is by attending church over a period of time that I have come to these thoughts, and yes- more will be said about my asymmetries with the institution later, but for now, I encourage you to ponder what does it really mean by going to this place of gathering.

 

 

 

Featured photo credit: Clip from ‘Annorunaal

 

 

 

Tears To The Corner of My Eyes

As a day’s duty comes to an abrupt end, as the night envelopes the sky, when scenes come to a halt, and earthly noise becomes silent, all are asleep, I am under the warmth of my comforter, looking straight into the pitch blackness of what is to be my ceiling and a flood of thoughts come rushing to my mind. Some warm friendly memories of the day, or recollections of the past…which eventually lead into self-reflection and analysis of self. It makes me stop and think in things that are best left to be buried, but they rather rise up to cloud my mind and bring a flood of tears to the corners of my eyes…

I wish I could tell you I have always been a happy girl. That I wake up each morning thinking it’s a brand new day, and new things will be accomplished, new successes will be found, but it isn’t. The fact of the matter, is that each waking day is a battle amongst mind and body. I admit, some days are better than most, and things have recently been getting better, but there are those days where I just want the sun to set and my eyes to fall into a deep slumber…to be engulfed by the blackness; yet I lie there wide awake. As hurt and ache comes to a merge, my baffled mind’s asking if this is all real and whether this devastating reality is actually what myself is living in…all of it is sometimes too much to comprehend…

Being born as an ‘ABPD’ I was raised to be rather independent which has benefitted me tremendously in terms of who I am as an individual. I know in front of others I am confident, that I am strong, I can do anything that is placed before me for, I had to do everything on my own from a young age itself. Yet, being independent, being that ‘ABPD’ has some setbacks which is probably the reason for the many battles I have faced. An example being open communication amongst those whom are closest with me…

I learned from a very young age that no one is to be trusted, not even blood. No matter how friendly a persona they put before you and others, they may come a point in life where they could stab you from the back, (of course figuratively). Even if I was filled with a multitude of mundane things to do in the short span of the twenty-four hours’ given, yes it perhaps may keep my attention busy for a moments time, but will not keep me going for long…Hatred, hurt, the brokenness of my frail heart as fate intervened a decision that keeps hunting me until now. Memories with a pleading danger as it tries to play on my emotions, conscious and guilt eating the insides of what’s left of my soul alive..

To shed tears, especially as an expression of distress or pain is a rare emotion for me to emanate partially because they are all used up in the deep sorrows of the night. My pain is for me to bare alone. I grew to accept that at the end of the day, the only person who will be there for you is yourself. A lonely concept, but very true.

I have cared and have loved for many, only to eventually, feel an empty shell of a body wandering aimlessly for who knows what’s next…so as I lie in this bed, feeling a wave of sorrow, thinking of today and tomorrow…I will always have to remind myself that life is a battle, and that I am the lone warrior fighting the hurdles forever alone… Yes, this all seems battered and worn out, but there is really only one thing, one individual that is keeping me sane and still, and it is with this mindset, with those promises that I hold on to, that hopefully, a time will come where I shall throw away the haunting past and dreadful words of the now to start anew…

 

 

Featured photo credit: Clip from ‘Annorunaal