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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flights of Angels

This post is dedicated to the children who have lost their lives this week both in the Doha Mall fire and in the Houla Massacre.

My heart hurts. It actually hurts. Its almost unbearable. This week has seen the loss of innocent lives on a scale its almost impossible to comprehend.

In what is undoubtedly the worst atrocity since the Arab Spring began 108 people, many of whom were children in Syria's Houla region, were summarily executed, Reports say most of these received single bullet wounds to the head. The culprits are reported to be the Army under the orders of President Bashar Assad.

The horror of this massacre comes after over a year of violence is Syria and mounting pressure from the international community on Assad's regime. It leaves me wondering how far things have to go in Syria before that same international community step in.

The second is a tragedy on a smaller scale, but that has touched me more deeply and more personally. At 11am local time on Monday 28th May 2012 a fire broke out in the Villagio shopping centre in the capital of the Gulf nation Qatar, Doha. A fire that was to claim the lives of 19 people, 13 of these young children, little more than babies. Whilst the cause of the fire, is at this time, unconfirmed, what is known is that the fire caused a stair case leading to a nursery school to collapse, thereby trapping the children and their teachers inside the burning building. Fire fighters attempted to break through the ceiling to rescue them and two lost their lives in the process, but alas in vain.

I lived in Doha for several years, shopped in that mall, was part of that community and I will admit, this event has hit me harder than expected it could. I don't know any of the families personally and yet my heart is utterly broken for them. At least two families lost three children in the blaze and it is hard to imagine that these families will ever fully be able to heal from such a loss.  As a parent I have spent a lot of time looking at my own children today and in turn counting my blessings and feeling horror and anguish at the thought of what it must be like to have your children taken so suddenly and so young. Imagining what it must have been like for those children, not much more than babies, a million what ifs in my head. And what I am feeling probably does not even scratch the surface of what these families, families from across the globe, are going through right now. Families who have lost children, those lives that will never reach their potential. I'm not a religious woman, but if anything would make you hope for something after this world, it is a tragedy like this, like Houla. Tragedies in which the most innocent of us pay the price.

Tonight I hugged my kids extra tight before they went to bed. My bigger girl got an extra story and and when, as she does every night she attempted to get me to hand over some extra smarties, I gave them to her. Because I am one of the lucky ones. Tonight, I got to put my kids to bed, to kiss them goodnight, in the morning we'll have breakfast. I'll nag at my eldest to eat her breakfast, brush her teeth, put her shoes on. I'll trip over my baby boy as he crawls around whilst I'm trying to get everyone ready. And I'll be grateful. Because tonight not everyone is so lucky...


  1. Beautifully written Rachael. My heart goes out to you as well as all those families that are no longer complete families. L&J will also get extra cuddles. xxx

  2. So moving, Rach. We are, indeed, truly lucky. x x x