In Syria, rebuilding bombed hospitals is an act of resistance

Charles Davis writes: The horror of the conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, can be measured with statistics: over 400,000 people dead; half the population displaced; the life expectancy of a newborn child dropping from 76 years in 2011 to under 56 years in 2016. But the grotesque absurdity of this revolution turned civil war is perhaps best captured by the fact that today Syrians are forced to crowdsource money online to rebuild and fortify bombed hospitals.

“Now, thanks to this war, we are 10,000 years back and we dig hospitals in the mountains and in the ground,” Zaidoun al-Zoabi, head of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations (UOSSM), told me. “In our worst dreams — in our worst nightmares — we never thought we would have to fortify hospitals,” he said. “It’s not humane. It’s impossible to comprehend.”

Zoabi, a 42-year-old father of three daughters, spoke to me from Berlin, where he fled two years ago. Originally from Daraa, where the initially peaceful uprising against the government of Bashar al-Assad began, he fled when he “couldn’t stand anymore the brutality of the regime. Two times in jail was enough for me.” Now, like 4.8 million other Syrians, he witnesses the brutality from abroad.

Today, Syria lacks many things, including the democracy Zoabi and thousands of others were arrested and tortured for demanding, but there is no shortage of atrocities. [Continue reading…]

Interview with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, senior advisor to and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a practicing physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine (recorded on April 26, 2016 in the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver).

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