Syria's war: "Leave the ones who are dying to me"
Sometimes you don’t need to speak the same language to understand a fellow human being’s grief and despair in a faraway country, in a foreign culture.
Just watch this video clip, only a minute long, of a makeshift hospital clinic in Syria, possibly Homs. It was posted on YouTube in January.
Leave aside for a minute the mind-boggling figures from the UN about the death count, the dizzying sectarian politics, the bewildering array of death squads and rebel groups battling it out for control in Syria's civil war. Never mind the inaction of the UN Security Council, the proxy war between the Americans and Russians.
This clip transcends all of that. It tells us what war does to ordinary people struggle to survive and help each other in horrifying circumstances.
(Lots of chaos.)
“Oh God. Oh God.”
A doctor in a blue coat holds his hands up in despair, murmuring inaudibly and breaking down in tears.
Doctor in the white coat and scarf: “Outside. Outside. Come inside. Leave him.”
Someone in the background shouts: “God is Great. There is no God but God...” (The phrase marks the gravity of the moment, a man, woman or child has just died off camera. It is part of the declaration of the Muslim faith.)
Doctor in white coat: “Come here. What’s wrong with you? Come here. Leave the ones who are dying to me.”
Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at The Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is the author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour