As most of us we count down to the holiday season in joyful anticipation, it is also heart-wrenching time to acknowledge the ongoing suffering in other parts of the world...particularly in Aleppo right now. “War does not determine who is right, only who is left," brilliantly said by philosopher Bertrand Russell, revealing the truth: we are “left”. Recent world events have been disturbing and challenging our humanity. The plight of the refugees - innocent people whose lives are overturned by horrific events - their stories and pictures make our hearts bleed and we wonder how we can help.
To put things into a contemporary framework, the recently released HBO series Westworld uses an inspiring opening quote, "Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty.” As true and simple as this notion is, we can choose to mourn, to blame the governments, and to be frustrated that we are not the decisions makers who can stop what is happening. On the other hand, we can choose to acknowledge that when we complain about the issues in our daily lives, somewhere in the world there is a person who is simply asking for is his/her basic needs to be met and to be safe.
We are "left" indeed, but what we are left with is compassion and the ability to help. Some of us feel helpless because we are so removed from the situation, but there are things we can do. We can donate to agencies that can provide immediate assistance on the ground. We can urge our representatives to assist refugees. Perhaps we think also ponder what we can do as educators and as musicians: Music can be a great comfort and a cathartic act of self-expression. It can be a reminder of better times and memories, a safe and constructive activity for children, or a safe "space" as we often refer to these days. The education of refugee children is severed as their lives are disrupted by violence; they are uprooted from their homes and all sense of normalcy evaporates...including going to school, which so many of us take for granted here. -- authored by IMS intern Charlotte Chan.