Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Passage of Death

It's not every day that you manage to get stuck for a few hours in the depths of a mud-sucking lake in the deserts of Jordan in a brand spanking new UNHCR Toyota Land Cruiser for VIP's.

And probably even rarer to be able to then lay claim to being rescued by the Jordanian Armed Forces in a sci-fi like Armored Personnel Carrier that seemed to magically float on the surface of the water strewn mud slicks as it races to the rescue.

So when the Syrian Refugees who have made this journey across the vast and unforgiving no man's land into Jordan refer to it as the 'passage of death' it is easy to be skeptical and dismiss it as a colourful but exaggerated Arabic allegory.

Yet having been caught in the bitter cold of a desert rainstorm on the eastern border of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and neighbouring Iraq & Syria; allow me to reassure you that despite only catching a glimpse of how difficult a winter crossing of the desert can be, the refugees' description is at best understatement.

For not only do they have to contend with the unpredictable natural elements; they do so having emerged from a shower of bullets, shellings and areas strewn with land mines aimed at them by their fellow countrymen.

According to many the journey is haunted by frequent makeshift graves marking the demise of those who valiantly tried to brave the desert in search of refuge from war only to lose their lives in a mercilessly harsh landscape.

The desert itself in that area is made up of sharp stones that dig into their scantily clad feet and if that isn't sufficient to trip them up or twist their ankles as they walk laden with their children and few remaining belongings; then the crashing rain that renders the land a smooth quick-sand like mud slick is bound to retaliate instead.

They journey into the unknown having paid small fortunes and been piled into vans a hundred at a time only to be abandoned midway and made to find their own path across. Several complain of having been lost for at least 10 days as they seek out the borders to safety.

They arrive in their hundreds exhausted, shivering & starving in their hundreds at the Jordanian border where they are admitted, fed & sheltered at the Ruwaished Army Camp until all their details are processed and they can be transferred across the desert to their new home: the Za'atari Refugee Camp.

On cold & wet Thursday afternoon 200 #syrian #refugees 
    ran en masse to cross into the Far Eastern #Jordanian border
from #Syria . In total 1,400 arrived this weekend
amidst rumours of chemical attacks. 
#jo — at Ruwaished.

Several hundred mostly #Syrian women & children 
cross into  

More than 1 million children have fled #Syria

& 75% of them are under age 11

that’s around 800,000

young children #FutureofSyria

Commander Hassan of the Border Guards looks pensive as 200 cold & wet #syrian @refugees cross into East #Jordan from #Syria ~ it is estimated that 1,400 arrived this weekend.

#Jordanian soldier pushes an injured #syrian man across to safety at the far east border of Ruwaished. #jo

Syrian Refugees scramble to climb on to the vehicles provided by the Jordanian Border Guards.

 They will be transported to the Ruwaished army camp where they will receive shelter & a hot meal before proceeding to Za'atari Refugee Camp #syria #refugees #jordan #jo

Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind. ~ JFK#syria #syrian #refugees #war #humanity