The world lost one of its most talented artists this past Saturday, February 11, 2012. Like many artists before her, Whitney Houston at last succumbed to the drugs and toxic influences that had afflicted her for so long. Whitney Houston’s sudden death is no doubt a tragedy. Also tragic, is the fact that the day of Houston’s death marked the brutal slaying of at least 31 innocent people in the city of Homs, Syria (Reuters). This comes after at least 67 were declared dead the Friday before. Unfortunately, the media dictates the lives that are presumed more precious and valuable, and the lives that are worth grieving over. As media outlets will continue to lament the shocking death of a lost singer in the upcoming days, the Syrian population’s struggle to stay alive will not wane. Indeed, while we here mourn the loss of another victim of drugs from the comfort of our living rooms, Syrian mothers will continue to mourn the loss of their children, while children will struggle to forge ahead in the wake of losing a parent, a brother, a sister, an uncle. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I hope to reflect on the courage and love the people of Syria have shown me in the last 11 months since they began their quest for freedom.
It may seem difficult at best and impossible at worst to offer assistance from so many miles away. However, if you would like to smuggle love into Syria for Valentine’s Day, you may do so by visiting Avaaz, Syria Relief, or Islamic Relief USA. Just as the thought is what counts when it comes to Valentine’s gifting, so is the case for providing relief to nations in need. A little bit can go a long way. The people of Syria need our help more than we need that bouquet of roses or box of chocolates.