Not a cycling post.
Yesterday morning, seven Red Cross staff (six International Committee and one Syrian Arab Red Crescent – SARC) were abducted by ‘unidentified armed men’ somewhere in north-west Syria, where they were delivering medical supplies. They were in a clearly marked vehicle.
Between January and June this year the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has delivered food to 1.2 million Syrians; helped secure clean drinking water for 20 million; supported seven SARC mobile health centres; doggedly supported, highlighted and campaigned for International Humanitarian Law; and generally helped people in a multitude of different ways. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have similarly staggering achievements; completing 4,091 surgeries and delivering 1,333 babies since the conflict began, often in little more than LED-lit tents.
To date, 22 SARC volunteers have lost their lives whilst protecting the lives and dignity of the victims of the Syrian civil war. I cannot begin to understand the mind of a person who would deliberately fire upon those caring for civilians. It is a crime so far beneath a rational member of any society that there is a dreadful temptation to turn away; to skim over the story; to pretend such acts simply couldn’t happen.
Keep in your thoughts those who labour to help others whilst protected only by the symbol on their clothing. Donate what you can, whether that is money, time, or clothes to a charity shop. Read and share those horrendous news reports – don’t let the Syrians be another group of people that slide into decades of quiet, mindless murder by regimes and rebels.
There’s a gathering on Glasgow Green today in support of those seven people currently kidnapped.