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Sunday, December 1, 2013

starvation at its height in Syria ... people kill a zoo lion ?!?!?!?

Imagine the height of starvation…. – the pain behind it…

The term Levant, first appeared in English in 1497 and  originally meant the East in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy". It is borrowed from the French levant 'rising', that is, the point where the sun rises.  Levant was  also known as  Eastern Mediterranean ~ the Levant of present day consists of Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Israel, part of southern Turkey, and the Aleppo Vilayet.

One of its constituents, Syria, a country in Western Asis bordering Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Israel is in news and for totally wrong reasons.  In the Islamic era, its capital city, Damascus, among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate, and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.

Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient, and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage  and eventually, death. According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the single gravest threat to the world's public health.  The WHO also states that malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. According to estimates by the F&AO, there were 925 million under- or malnourished people in the world in 2010.

The country is in turmoil…. ~ the Syrian civil war,  or the  Syrian uprising is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. The unrest began on 15 March 2011, ~  part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963. In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country.  After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

Now the Western media reports this place of tumult to be in bad shape……. Stories state that people are waiting in the town's long milk line. Everyone there is desperate for milk from the town's only living cow. They try to arrive early, hoping she does not run dry before they get their share.  There is shortage of everything – more importantly food articles.  There have been reported cases of child mortality due to malnutrition too.

Today there is a too disturbing report from Syria as reported in Daily Mail…. – that of starving Syrians butchering  a zoo's lion to eat in worst sign yet of how desperate civilians are for food ~ the graphic photo has been circulating on social media websites stating that the emaciated animal is from the Al-Qarya al-Shama Zoo.  The photograph, which has not been independently verified, shows three men standing around the body of a lion. One of them is holding the lion's head while another appears to be cutting meat from the animal's hind legs. What appears to be a chunk of meat can be seen laying on the ground next to the emaciated looking lion.

Daily Mail further reports that last month a cleric issued a fatwa to allow starving people in the region to eat cats and dogs. According to the Daily Telegraph, the United Nations said today that civilians are going hungry in beseiged areas as they are inaccessible. The UN handed out food to 3.3million people in Syria in October. The World Food Programme added that the nutritional state of those trapped by fighting in parts of Damascus and rural areas has deteriorated significantly in recent months. With the Syrian conflict in its third year, the report of UN  highlights the plight of the children, who are growing up in fractured families, missing out on education and increasingly going out to work to help support extended families in exile. Children and youngsters are worst affected. In Jordan's sprawling Zaatari refugee camp, most of the 680 small shops employ children, the report also said.  Many Syrian refugee children in Lebanon also fall into the hands of criminal gangs specialized in exploiting the most vulnerable victims of the conflict. They are seen begging on the streets of Beirut or more frequently selling flowers and gum for their often abusive patrons.

In every war, it is always the commoners, children and emaciated who bear the brunt of everything and all is not well with Syria.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th Nov. 2013.

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