There is no simple children’s story that can explain away this terror. But as the violence continues, a group of children’s and young adult authors are hoping to do what they can to help those suffering in the Syrian city of Aleppo by starting a social media campaign to raise money.
So the pair decided to start a hashtag, #KidlitForAleppo, where authors would offer prizes on Sunday if fans sent them a screenshot that proved they donated to an organization like the White Helmets, Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee.
“There are some incredible and heroic groups working to save people in Aleppo, and their stories move me almost as much as the tragedies of those who are trapped,” wrote Levy in a blog post. “I’ve donated money, given more donations as gifts in people’s names, and talked them up whenever the subject arises. But it doesn’t feel like enough.”
On Sunday, the same day Russia said it would veto a resolution to send UN observers to Aleppo, assailants torched at least five buses meant to evacuate more than 2,000 wounded and sick Syrians out of two small villages.
An estimated 400,000 Syrians have died since the country’s civil war began in 2011, according to the United Nations.
On Monday, reports of pro-government forces killing at least 82 civilians in their homes and on the streets of eastern Aleppo — where rebel forces still held power — shocked and outraged the international community.
The UN received “deeply disturbing reports” about bodies “lying on the streets,” unable to be recovered because of constant attacks.
Activists in Aleppo are tweeting out their final, harrowing goodbyes. They will almost certainly be detained/tortured/killed upon capture.
— Ben Taub (@bentaub91) December 12, 2016
With evacuation efforts being stymied, at least 50,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo, according to the UN. That means people are stuck sleeping in the streets and rubble of bombed buildings as subfreezing temperatures hit what was once the largest city in Syria.
“[I] don’t know if it will make a difference,” Levy wrote. “The whole ‘light a candle instead of cursing the darkness thing’ — it can feel pointless. After all, one candle doesn’t feel like much. But when everyone lights a candle … Well. The light gets brighter, that’s all.”