Aleppo man sits with his pipe amidst his destroyed home. Consolation in the new normal
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Aleteia

Consolation in the new normal

Photo by Joseph Eid - AFP
Share
Comment

Photo of the Day: April 28, 2017

Life in war torn Aleppo

ALEPPO, Syria – 2017: Mohammed Mohiedin Anis, or Abu Omar, 70, smokes his pipe as he sits in his destroyed bedroom listening to music on his vinyl player (gramophone) in Aleppo’s formerly rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood.

This image, titled Unchanged, is one of the most haunting to come out of the struggle in Aleppo, which has plagued the ancient city for more than 4 years.

Now, after the fighting has ended, the people of Aleppo have a new struggle, that of rebuilding their lives and finding a way to cope with the trauma.

Aleteia’s John Burger covered this process of societal reconstruction:

“The situation is chaotic but full of hope for the first time,” said Father Andrzej Halemba, head of the Middle East section for the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. “You could sense a certain jubilation. Young people were playing football, thinking about an upcoming tournament. They were asking me if they can restore the basketball field.”

Father Halemba recently was in Aleppo, where the Syrian military, with assistance from Russian forces, had wrested control over the rebel-held eastern sector in late December.

The youth he met there were not the only sign of a renewed hope for a city that had become a living hell in the waning months of 2016. “We have more and more questions on how we can go back to Aleppo from Lebanon or other parts of the Middle East,” Father Halemba said.

Aid to the Church in Need is coordinating with other relief agencies to help rebuild the devastated city, providing funds to rebuild housing and feed the malnourished. The Vatican is trying to assist as well. Pope Francis sent Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, acting secretary of the Vatican’s new Congregation for Integral Human Development, to Aleppo January 18-23.

Cardinal Mario Zenari, papal nuncio to Damascus, is launching a project to rebuild Catholic hospitals in Aleppo. Like other hospitals, they are struggling mightily to treat the many wounded and traumatized.

“I’m waiting for His Eminence to meet with the Pope, and then we can see what we can do for these hospitals,” Father Halemba said.

Without denying the material hardships, though, simply the fact that the city is secure is a tremendous morale-booster. Alleppians “welcome peace and are so happy to not hear mortars and low-flying military jets and so on,” the Polish priest said.

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia Image Department
Holy smokes!
Aleteia Image Department
Vestition
Aleteia Image Department
Pro-life Ireland
Aleteia Image Department
First Holy Communion in Ukraine
Aleteia Image Department
The cell of St. Faustina
Aleteia Image Department
The sun sets on Rio
Aleteia Image Department
Happy birthday, Pope Benedict!
Aleteia Image Department
Our Lady in Rome
Aleteia Image Department
Our Lady of the Gypsies
Aleteia Image Department
The new bishop in town
Aleteia Image Department
The Divine Mercy
Aleteia Image Department
A prayer of thanksgiving
Aleteia Image Department
Holy Week at the Gulf of Naples
Aleteia Image Department
Our Lady in China
Aleteia Image Department
The Way of the Cowboy Priest
Aleteia Image Department
Easter Vigil in the Congo
Aleteia Image Department
Via Crucis on the lake
Aleteia Image Department
Via Crucis – St. John Paul II
Aleteia Image Department
Called to serve – Holy Thursday
Aleteia Image Department
Fatima at 90 years
Aleteia Image Department
Palm Sunday in Nicaragua
Aleteia Image Department
Antonio Banderas in Malaga
Aleteia Image Department
ON LOCATION: Jim Caviezel
Aleteia Image Department
Our Lady of Navigators
Aleteia Image Department
Our Lady in the forest
Aleteia Image Department
A full moon over Rio
Aleteia Image Department
The care of the shepherd
Aleteia Image Department
Saint Patrick’s Day in NYC
Aleteia Image Department
Via Dolorosa
Aleteia Image Department
“Buona sera”
Aleteia Image Department
Eight more days till spring
Aleteia Image Department
Our Lady and the rainbow
Aleteia Image Department
The cathedrals of Vienna
Aleteia Image Department
A colorful celebration of faith
Aleteia Image Department
Christ the Redeemer in lights
Aleteia Image Department
Safe and loved
Aleteia Image Department
The photographer priests
Aleteia Image Department
The other women’s march
Aleteia Image Department
Snow-covered St. Peter
Aleteia Image Department
The Colosseum bathed in red
Aleteia Image Department
The Bramante Staircase
Aleteia Image Department
The eyes of a saint
Aleteia Image Department
Thomas Merton, photographer
Aleteia Image Department
The Dominican Sisters at play
Aleteia Image Department
Sing it, Harry!
Aleteia Image Department
Lent begins
Aleteia Image Department
Get your ashes!
Aleteia Image Department
Holy Hour in Calcutta
Aleteia Image Department
A prayer for healing
Aleteia Image Department
A pizza for the pope!
Aleteia Image Department
Pope Francis meets the newlyweds
Aleteia Image Department
The Super Bowl champs in prayer
Aleteia Image Department
The cell of Padre Pio in Morcone
Aleteia Image Department
“One, two, three!”
Aleteia Image Department
The Rosary of Mother Teresa