After the fall of eastern Aleppo,
We pray for the souls of those who have perished,
That they may experience the joy of everlasting life.
We pray for the survivors and remaining civilians,
Who now face grave risk of detention, torture,
And death by their own government,
That they find comfort and safe haven.
We pray for all who have witnessed
The destruction of their homes
And experienced unfathomable loss and horror.
We pray for the doctors, humanitarians, faith leaders,
Reporters, first responders, and the White Helmets,
Who bravely entered Aleppo,
Risking and sacrificing their lives
To alleviate the suffering of others.
We watched the goodbye messages pour out of Aleppo
And heard the people’s final cries for peace and justice.
Help us to recognize that our words and prayers are not enough.
Give us the courage to condemn those who have committed
Horrific war crimes against thousands of innocents.
Grant us the will to protect your children,
Who have endured chemical weapons, aerial bombings,
And been denied food, water, and medicine.
Forgive us for our inaction and silence.
Forgive us our ignorance and lack of compassion.
Forgive us for standing by in the face of genocide
Until it was too late.
After every tragedy, our words and prayers are the same:
After the Holocaust,
And after Rwanda.
Years from now, we will be forced to answer for Aleppo.
We pray that when we say,
That this time it will be true. Amen.
— Irene Koo
Copyright © 2016, Education for Justice, a project of Center of Concern.