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December 2016

Tangible intangibles

Dan Petrescu's picture
Also available in: العربية


It is a chapel. Small, hardly the size of a barn. A cube of rough cut stone. Superbly isolated, but sitting on historically hallowed ground. Old enough to carry memories. Although unprepossessing, it is not neglected. Its doors and windows are freshly painted white, and on the window sill a candle has recently melted. People of faith and hope walk from afar, enter it just once a year, looking for comfort, and to pray. The rest of the time, the chapel stands witness to the rumors of the swirling winds. It is the Church of Mar Moussa El Habchi in Bisri, Lebanon, but it could well be anywhere in the world. The chapel also sits on the foot print of a planned dam on the Awali river and the resulting reservoir will provide a critical water supply to the nearly 2 million people of the greater Beirut area who receive only three hours of water a day during more than half a year. 

Disabled and Forcibly Displaced

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Volunteers carry disabled refugee - Nicolas Economou | Shutterstock.com

In February of this year the Syrian Center for Policy Research issued a report stating that 470,000 Syrians had been killed in the war and 1.9 million wounded. That was 10 months ago and with the intensification of the siege and bombardment of Aleppo and ongoing fighting elsewhere in the country, one can only guess at the current toll. What is clear is that each day of fighting adds to the burden that Syria will have to carry for generations to come, not only in terms of the ever mounting physical destruction but also in caring for the growing daily toll of the physically or mentally disabled that the war produces. All this at a time when half the population--nearly 5 million refugees and 6.6 million Internally Displaced Person (IDPs)--have been torn from their homes; and the country’s medical system is in tatters.