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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
DECEMBER 2016

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--- CHRISTMAS IN ALEPPO ---
31st December 2016

Christmas in Aleppo

I met a seven year old girl named Bana yesterday morning that broke my heart. I had just gotten up and was sitting underneath one of the TVs out in the cellblock and having my first cup of coffee of the day. She was on the news, smiling and singing a song that she'd written, asking the world to please just left her live in peace. As she sang, she stood in front of an apartment building where her and her family used to live. It had been hit by a bomb and reduced to rubble. This beautiful child should have been in school, but this was impossible as her school had also been bombed and reduced to rubble. She might have gone over to one of her little friend's house to watch movies, play with dolls, or to act silly in the way that little girls do. The only problem though was that her dolls were in the bedroom of her family's apartment; and but for one other sobering fact. Most of her playmates are dead. Or maybe Bana could have gone to play at the playground that's located just down the street from her house. Unfortunately, though, that wasn't an option either, because three days before soldiers had targeted that particular playground and used their AK-47's to fire 7.62 mm bullets into the bodies of the children who were playing there.

Yet, amidst all of this carnage and death, Bana continues to smile and sing.

Bana Al Abed lives on the Eastern side of the city of Aleppo in Syria, where a civil war presently rages. Her mother's name is Fatemah and her father's name is Ghassan. He works for the local legal council there. He'll most likely still have his job there in the year 2017, that is if he's still alive. Bana has a Twitter feed @alabedbana if you'd like to meet her and watch her sing. She's not a hoax, or a propaganda tool as some haters have claimed. She's a happy, little, Onyx-eyed cutie with long Black hair and the Olive complexion of her homeland. Take a look at her. Then look at your daughter or granddaughter, or niece or godchild.

The emotional resilience of a child is truly an amazing thing to witness. They love with everything that they have and are quick to forgive. They don't scheme or plot or hold grudges. These are behaviors that they have to be taught. Bana's only been in the world for seven years, but in that short amount of time she's already seen and experienced the worst that humanity has to offer. Hate, violence, suffering, cruelty, and death.

Yet, still she continues to smile and sing.

Unfortunately though, all of the singing and smiling in the world will not change one simple fact. Bana Al Abed needs help. Real, tangible necessities such as food, medicine, and shelter, not to mention clothes and toys. Bana's family may be Muslim and not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but she still deserves to have a nice Christmas. All children do.

As most of you who read my blog already know, I have a strong faith in God. I'm Catholic, and as such, I go to mass, believe in intercessory prayer through the Rosary, and tend to use the Communion of Saints to plead my case like they're a law firm that I have on retainer. Although I don't really know as much, I would assume that based on my former criminality and the glibness with which I sometimes write about it, that some people might question the legitimacy of my faith. The best way to judge the words coming out of my mouth is by looking at my feet. The way that I walk; my actions.

The fact that I'm a criminal whose been in prison for the better part of a decade doesn't mean that I don't have feelings. I'm hardened for sure, but not all the way gone. And to assume that I endorse all criminals and/or criminal behavior just because I committed some crimes would be like saying that just because you occasionally break the speed limit or get behind the wheel after a couple of drinks, that you think that it's okay to commit crimes. I am an incredibly flawed person, but I still have a moral code of conduct and a social conscience that causes me to try and right a wrong where I see it, especially when it's shocking and involves children. Even from prison.

So far this year in the civil war in Syria, 5712 souls have perished...724 of these in the last month alone. What causes educated, pious, supposedly God-fearing people to commit war against each other? In the end, it doesn't really matter and it isn't something that you or I can change, at least not in the short-run. Truly, the only thing that matters at this moment in time is that Bana and thousands of others just her in Eastern Aleppo need help. They needs things such as safety and shelter, as well as food. These basic things would be wonderful Christmas presents for someone who doesn't have them. Unfortunately for Bana, her parents are as impoverished as she is and not able to provide these things for her.

There have recently been two cease-fire agreements between the warring factions in Aleppo, but both have fallen through. When this happened, it resulted in the people who were trying to flee the city being ambushed and shot to death. There is no safety to be had at Christmastime in 2016 in Eastern Aleppo. You can't physically go over there and rescue or help the suffering either. But you can give money and help those who can. The White Helmets (#whitehelmets); the ones working in the trenches rescuing people every day. They need you to help them help others. It doesn't matter what you do or don't believe in. That's how it works.

I asked my webmaster Alexius Rex (alexiusrex.weebly.com) to find me some reputable relief organizations that directly help the war victims of Aleppo. Organizations that use the majority of every dollar that they receive for staples such as food, medicine, blankets, and supplies, and not towards "Administrative costs" such as airfare and salaries for executives of their organization. I've listed these organizations at the end of this blog for you to Google. Pick one...and help Bana and her family.

People are filled with hate and anger. They use politics to justify murder. They bomb buildings and leave people to die underneath the rubble, scared and alone. They trick others into feeling safe, and then shed their blood the moment that they let their guard down. They use a dark interpretation of their God to kill innocent children on a playground in the light of day.

Yet, as the bombs and bullets fly, and as the city crumbles all around her, Bana Al Abed continues to smile and sing.

Children shouldn't have to dodge bullets and conform their daily routine to some twisted zealot's hatred. They should be allowed to just be children. They should get a pass from the hatred and politics of the world for the first 15 years of their life. But the children in Eastern Aleppo will be lucky to survive 15 years. Children should have a future...not a lifespan.

When I tell people who are non-believers that I am a Christian, the question that they usually get around to asking is, "If there is a God, why would he allow children to suffer without doing something about it?" I imagine that, given the chance, God might very well ask them the same thing.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS:
* Syrian Medical Society-only .01 of every donated dollar is used for administrative costs.
* Karam Foundation-Chicago-based charity that operates out of Turkey to rebuild Syrian schools.
* Sunrise USA
* Islamic Relief USA- Specify "Syrian Humanitarian Aid."