Starving Madaya: UK must drop food parcels not bombs… do we want another Siege of Leningrad?

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How long before food reaches this malnourished boy? (Image, via Sophie McNeil) 

What has happened that a person can look at a photo of a seriously malnourished child and greet such a disturbing image with mocking and abuse? How low can people go? Compassion has been replaced by callousness. Trolling and taunting starving people in Syria with pictures of feasts can only be described as perverted. As the Independent highlighted,

Supporters of the Syrian regime are sharing photos of their dinners to taunt thousands of starving civilians in a besieged town.

The hashtag #متضامن_مع_حصار_مضايا, meaning “solidarity with the siege of Madaya”, has sparked a new wave of outrage over the continuing crisis, with those using it condemned as “sadistic” and “unbelievably disgusting”.

An earlier article detailed the suffering of the Syrian people can be seen on the following link,

“Misery of Madaya, Foah, Kefraya: Starving, eating family pets and grass, Syrian government will now open routes for UN aid”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/misery-of-madaya-foah-kefraya-starving-eating-family-pets-and-grass-syrian-government-will-now-open-routes-for-un-aid/

I cannot bear to post the images of indulgent banquets. Instead lets consider what its like to go for a prolonged period without food.

A person begins to starve when the body expends more energy than it takes in, they have bouts of impulsivity, irritability, hyperactivity. Catabolysis begins when body starts to break down its own muscles and other tissues in order to keep vital systems such as the nervous system and heart muscle from functioning. The body becomes dehydrated. Vitamin deficiency can lead to conditions such as anaemia and scurvy other problems include diarrhoea, skin rashes, edema (swelling of body tissue)  painful limbs, difficulty in swallowing and the heart becomes at risk. Eventually a person become too weak too move, periods cease in women and they are unable to carry a foetus or feed a baby.

Starvation during the Siege of Leningrad

In 2011 the Daily Mail (Mail Online) featured an article on the Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War when the German army cut off the city for 900 days from September, 1941 to January, 1944 causing the deaths of 800,000 people, nearly a third of the population. It was a city starving to death. This gives an idea of how bad things can get during a time of conflict. An excerpt reads as follows:-

“Over a million children and dependants were still in the city when the ring closed. In all there were 3.3 million mouths to feed.

Quite soon the bread ration had to be halved. By mid-November manual workers received 250 grams a day, the rest only half of that. But the bread had been adulterated with pine shavings. So people were existing (or failing to) on 400, even 300 calories.

Pet owners swapped cats in order to avoid eating their own. There wasn’t a dog to be seen. Only the zoo preserved its star attractions, like ‘Beauty’ the hippopotamus, with special rations of hay.

People searched desperately for substitute food. Cottonseed cake (usually burned in ships’ boilers), ‘macaroni’ made from flax seed for cattle, ‘meat jelly’ produced from boiling bones and calf skins, ‘yeast soup’ from fermented sawdust, joiners’ glue boiled and jellified, toothpaste, cough mixture and cold cream – anything that contained calories. They even licked the dried paste off the wallpaper.”

It did not end there… cases of cannibalism were recorded. Corpses were stolen from graveyards, amputated limbs snatched from operating theatres, “mothers smothered very young children to feed their older ones.”

Full article can be read on the following link,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2032706/BEYOND-HORROR-They-ate-cats-sawdust-wallpaper-paste–babies-Leningrads-agony-Nazis-tried-starve-submission-LENINGRAD-TRAGEDY-OF-A-CITY-UNDER-SIEGE-1941-44-BY-ANNA-REID.html

Are we prepared to let what happened in Leningrad happen again in Madaya?

Sophie McNeil a journalist with ABC News tweeted,

The aid still hasn’t reached & the horror continues. New photos from hardworking medical team inside

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What you can do to help…Petition for British air force to drop food aid to Syria

Although the Syrian government had agreed to allow aid convoys through there has already been a delay. The BBC reports, “an aid convoy (World Food Programme) which was due to reach a besieged Syrian village on Sunday has been delayed by last-minute hitches.” It is not now due to arrive until Monday, that may be too late for some…

People in Britain want our government to help starving Syrians and drop food parcels not bombs. As expected the government is resisting with pathetic excuses see following article,

“If the RAF can’t drop food to Madaya in Syria we shouldn’t bother having an air force at all”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/12091006/If-the-RAF-cant-drop-food-to-Madaya-in-Syria-we-shouldnt-bother-having-an-air-force-at-all.html

So far over 23, 700 people have signed a petition calling on the government to allow the RAF to parachute in aid (as they did in Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014)… your name can be added on the link below to keep up the pressure,

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/117658%20%20Petition

The callous trolls on social media have given only images of food to taunt those who are starving in Syria, lets at least try to get some real food to the people!

Links

“Madaya: Aid convoy for besieged Syrian village delayed”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35271260

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

 

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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