Today I saw a man weeping on top of the body of a tiny child. At first I was not sure if what I was seeing was real. Her face was near porcelain except for the hint of ash that made her stone, until she looked like a broken doll laid out on a red carpet. She was pressed in the middle of a pool of her own blood and he, the man on top of her, was gurgling as if his soul was drowning in that blood.
There were feet in the footage I was seeing online. Feet in sandals, feet without socks, feet that had voices attached to faces I could not see. I heard those voices speak but I could not understand their language. Syria. The comments indicated that the video was taken in Syria. I could not see the place. I could only see the person, the person who was left to cradle the body that once upon a time had been a little girl. Was she his little girl? It wouldn’t matter. He would cry for her the same. His tears drained out of him just as her life had become a smear on pavement.
They tried to coax him away from her. I did not need to know their words to understand that they were trying to tell him that he could not hold on, that she had gone, and that life would continue in that very spot where she was smashed. I watched as hands tried to pull him up, but his weight fell back to earth as rocks of grief until it looked like sadness was what crushed the little child. Except he held her so gently, even still, even in death. His hands held her head, which was cracked open like an egg in a nest of black curls. Her eyes were closed to long lashes, her mouth was soft like a kiss left behind for an angel to find.
He could not let go of her. I watched him flounder in that spot until I knew he’d never leave it. He would be trapped there forever in the grief of losing her that way. The bomb should have taken them both. It would have been a kindness to allow them to hold each other in fate instead of being torn from each other so savagely. Those were my thoughts as I imagined myself in the same position, with my one daughter laid to rest beneath me. I thought of how cruel survival is when all that makes life worthwhile is stripped from you.
How do we go on when the world has become this? How can we help without inviting the same evil to our door? Syria is far away until news spreads that people want to hide HERE, that they want to escape to America. Suddenly, I am the same father that has nothing left and every horror is real.
Then I unplug. I turn off my television, my cell phone, and my computer. I sit in the middle of my quiet house and I’m grateful for the rain replenishing a state that has been in drought. I think about the trees and the wind on my face and I wonder about all these Gods that mortal men ruin life over. They pine for heaven without appreciating the gift of all the world’s splendor and goodness? What about goodness? Now we have people called ISIS who spill children’s blood like it is fingerpaint.
I think the world needs new inspiration. Flowers in France and a united nation that builds instead of allowing destruction. How many people are there in the world? Billions? There are billions of us right? What if instead of everyone trying to leave Syria the world flipped a bitch and decided to take it back. There are way more good people in the world than there are bad ones. What the hell would ISIS do if billions of people began a pilgrimage to Syria with tools and equipment to help the people there rebuild their lives? What would ISIS do if the whole world started loving each other at once?
You may think it’s crazy, but there’s this movie I love called ‘Mad Max Fury Road.’ It’s a movie about what happens AFTER we screw up the world entirely. They spend most of the movie trying to leave the land run by warlords until they realize that home is the only place that has everything they need. It’s all that’s left. There is no other option. They go back to take back what was rightfully theirs. Terror does not deserve a homeland. I am not suggesting WAR. I am suggesting we all discover a new way of life. What we have now clearly is not working. Perhaps it is time for the world to start working together, on progress, on peace. The world is ours to cherish and cultivate.