Sunday, June 4, 2017

Bearing Witness to the Times: Aleppo After the Fall

Ruins near the citadel in Aleppo’s Old City. Credit Sebastián Liste/Noor Images, for The New York Times

"Aleppo After the Fall: As the Syrian civil war turns in favor of the regime, a nation
adjusts to a new reality  and a complicated new picture of the conflict emerges"
(title of article in The New York Times Magazine)

Aleppo After the Fall

In a city so ancient
That a merchant can stand on a street corner
Where his blood ancestor may have stood
Three thousand years before,
There comes a haphazard reprieve from war.

A weary silence falls
Where streets once bustled
With sales of fabric and spice
Amid the sweet cacophony
Of exuberant traders and pilgrims.

Like a shattered plate,
The courtyard of The Great Mosque
Now lies in fragments –
The hundreds of daily footsteps
But a prayerful memory.

Children play –
When they dare come out –
In the rubble-strewn side streets
While old men try to remember
The ancient pathways.

A flute still plays in the distance;
A dancer regains her steps.
The rest of us settle
Into a strange new world
Where victory is as dangerous as defeat.

                                                                      ~ CK

“On March 7, 2006, the sun rises on Aleppo. Aleppo, along with Damascus and Sana'a, is one of the three oldest inhabited cities in human history,  added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1986.” (From The Atlantic Monthly, “Aleppo Before the War - Photo by Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)


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