People in Kafranbel, Syria, protest the Assad regime. Credit: Creative Commons/FreedomHouse.


Syria, Syria – I spied you from the Golan decades back, caught site of Quneitra’s soft outline,

remembered then Damascus, city of rabbis, bishops, imams, of Paul’s blinding moment on the way.

Now I mourn with you as armed men contend for your soul,

some wanting freedom, others unholy conformity while a tyrant lets you bleed and bleed,

lets children dwell in fear sans food, sans school, sans hope.

I will not dispel you from my thoughts, Syria,

though your agony challenges God and men, statesmen and scholars, mothers and saints.

I will argue with the Absolute over you – why such pain to the innocent?

I will pray and hope for an end to your bleak night,

I will advocate for peace in small ways with humble pleas to the powerful,

I will support the caregivers on your sad and savaged ground – as will so many.

I will not forget you, Syria, will not stop aching for you.


Benjamin J. Hubbard is a professor emeritus of comparative religion at Cal State Fullerton.

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