Though unknown to the Western world, the city of Aleppo in Syria was once a beacon of architectural prowess and cultural beauty. With intricate mosques and a colorful city life, Aleppo represented a haven of wonder for the Syrian people -- that was, until the Syrian Civil War plagued the nation with violence, destroying the beauty that once was. Now, with the Battle of Aleppo concluding in December of 2016, the people of Aleppo are rebuilding their once illustrious city -- an emblem of hope and strength for the rest of the world.
Photo: Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash
The Battle of Aleppo practically decimated both the people and the infrastructure of the city. During the battle, about 31,183 lives were taken and about 60 percent of the city was damaged, with 30 percent of it destroyed in its entirety. Among these casualties include the Great Mosque of Aleppo, which once featured intricate architecture and precious stones. Though significantly damaged since its demolition in 2013, the Syrian population has banded together to try and rebuild this structure, starting with the minaret in which daily Islamic prayer takes place.
During the course of the civil war, millions of Syrians had no other option than to flee from their homes as refugees, fueling the global refugee crisis. Now, it is up to the remaining population to rebuild their city and uplift what is left of it. Recently, the citizens of Aleppo organized a concert starring traditional singer Shadi Jamil in order to restore hope to the people in their upcoming struggle to restore their home. Differing from the usual sounds of gunshots and bombings that penetrate the city, this concert was a much needed breath of fresh air for the people of Syria.
Overcoming devastating violence and pain, the people of Syria coming together is the unity the world needs right now. Despite the inevitable difficulties that lie ahead in this endeavor, the Syrian people coming together to restore their city can be seen as an act of strength in the face of adversity -- an act we can all draw inspiration from.
A current resident of Aleppo commented to The Independent, “When Aleppo is rebuilt, it will be because of the love of its people. I have seen people in the destroyed streets putting chairs in front of their shops today, even though the shops have been destroyed. They gradually clean everything away. Aleppo will be rebuilt by its people. We need to see Aleppo again – all of it, because otherwise we will go on missing it.”
Regardless of where you live, you can help the Syrian people recover from this calamity. By verbalizing your support, spreading awareness for their ongoing struggle, and donating to organizations that fund the rebuilding of Aleppo, you can play an active role in restoring hope to the world. The end of their civil war, though progress, is not the end of the Syrian struggle for peace, but instead a step in the right direction.
Zoya Wazir is a seventeen-year-old Muslim-American with a deep rooted passion for social activism and writing. She plans to double major in Journalism and Political Science in order to work toward achieving the change she wishes to see in the American media. In her fleeting free time, she also likes to create art, read celebrity autobiographies, and binge-watch Bollywood movies.