Right now there is war and tragedy in Syria. The boy in this picture has lost family and is probably not Judeo-Christian. Should my empathy run on certain lines, yet not on others? Is not humanity a family? Being a brothers and sisters keeper puts our focus on being servants to others and the overall welfare of the community. The mind goes into a foresight-mode geared towards looking for ways to be of service.
Is Syria a lost case? Did we ever think there would be skateboarders roaming in Afghanistan? Over a decade of Soviet occupation and nearly two decades of official U.S. and allied force occupation, the tension between armed forces bent on different purposes over the Afghani-land has been something of an enigma. The people of Afghanistan are a simple people. They are either ‘from the land,’ or are focused on going about their business. They are sheep headers, farmers, servant leaders, skateboarding girls, traders, and artists. More than anything, they are a people focused on the experience of family and simple living. Raising children and enjoying life.
the sound, look and feel of liberty
liberty looks like: children skateboarding in Kabul.
The sounds of skateboards rumbling through the streets:
the self-expressions of people exercising all their God-given freedoms and liberties
In Syria, things are not so. There is a continued physical war that has demolished entire cities, bringing them to rubble. Families have been slaughtered, maimed and displaced. There has been no scrutiny in carrying out battle in the middle of cities and people are subjected to living in fear and apprehension on a constant basis.
Should a Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or Christian care for the plight of someone afar off in a distant country who worships God differently, perhaps as a Muslim? The skateboarding miracle that is empowering youth and especially female youth in Afghanistan, could eventually happen in Syria as well. This is a subtle, yet raw form of empathy in a practical setting that works. A school with an all-seasons skatepark attached to it. The non-profit skateboard and academic school Skateistan exemplifies this with its growing number of campuses from Afghanistan to South Africa. The children flock to be skateboarders when the adequate facilities are built and afforded to the community, regardless of race, religion or creed. Now there are multiple generations of young people who skateboard in Afghanistan.
Like flowers that grow out of the most unlikely places, there will be skateboarders on the streets of Syria’s destroyed communities. This will bring a special kind of therapy to the skateboarder and also to souls coming out of a war. Skateboarding can do all that as well as provide great cognitive-physical development. It is a sign, practice and sound of liberty and freedom.
Locally, a church in Greenwich, Connecticut is striving towards serving by hosting a Syrian refugee family. They are going above and beyond for people they hardly know. It is the congregation of my former landlord. A retired U.S. Army Infantry Captain who served us all in Korea.
By continued service to others our hearts stay light and we feel ‘young and free.’
|Mac and Charlie August 2016|