31st December 2016 - Over 500 children have attended a show dedicated to the "birth of peace". In Damascus, there is no water and electricity; but in the dark you can see the "light" that illuminates the world. Toys, scarves, gloves and wool socks distributed to children most in need. A young actor says: Peace is not only a miracle but "we are the first who must build it".
Despite the "pain" and "suffering" caused by war, Christians in Syria have had a "wonderful Christmas." The deaths caused by the conflict teach us "the true meaning of life and birth." This is what Sandra Awad, Head of Communications of Caritas Syria, 38, married and mother of two children, tells AsiaNews in a letter about the festive season in the Syrian capital. "Our Christmas - she writes - is not so bright and illuminated as in other parts of the world; our trees are not illuminated because we do not have electricity for most of the day. However, sometimes the darkness "is important" because it allows us to "see and understand what really matters in life."
Among the many events organized by the local Church, we want to highlight a theatrical play written and edited by the Caritas communications director, entitled "The Birth of peace" and watched by more than 500 children in two different shows. The text was an attempt to explain the meaning of peace to them, of sharing, of acceptance through a "common effort [...] ourselves and in our families."
Here, below, the testimony of the Caritas director:
Christmas 2016 is here, but our country is still living the pain of the Holy week of 2011. Despite all of what we are living now, our Christmas is beautiful. Why beautiful despite the war? I don't know! Maybe the death shows us the real meaning of birth. maybe the sadness all around give the happiness moments more value. much more value. and maybe because we are now waiting impatiently for the birth of the peace child in a country.
Our Christmas is not like the bright Christmas in other countries in the world; our trees are not lit because we don't have electricity most of the time. War took away electricity with a lot of other things. water, gas, oil, gasoline, warmth. We're dying every day to provide these goods, but it's ok.
When we don't have electricity, we can light a small candle and put it near the small Christmas cave, which all the Christian families put under their Christmas trees in Syria.
Maybe the darkness is important for the human being sometimes to let him see the most important in life. The most important in Christmas is Jesus' birth. A lot of light will let us concentrate on the beauty of the tree, and we might forget to look at the small baby who is sitting under it in the cave, waiting for our candle to be lit near him, to give him some warmth. some love. a little bit of love.
Our Christmas in Caritas this year is not like other Christmases. We were full of joy when we were preparing for our Christmas event, which took place on Dec 23 on the theater of the Cross Church in Damascus. Around 550 needy children were invited to attend a Theater Play, which I wrote myself and called "The Birth of Peace". I put a lot of peace messages and ideas like accepting the other difference, starting to build peace from ourselves and in our families,.
This play was acted by young talented group of actors called "Enjaz", with the participation of some children. Tony Estephan, 11 years old actor said: "What I liked the most in this play is the idea that I performed in front of a lot of needy children, who have my age, and I gave them joy, a lot of joy, because the play is a comedy, which I am sure they liked a lot.”
Ethraa, 22 years old actress said: "The idea of the play is new, and it talks about us, all the Syrians. The heroes of the play are the decoration of a Christmas tree in Syria (angel, star, snowman, light, boots, deer, stick, and bell) who are having discussions whether to stay or to leave to another country after they found out that war is still ongoing outside, this kind of discussions that we have every day between us everywhere and all the time.”
Adam Al-Shami, 20 years old actor, said: "The idea that peace should start from us is fantastic, I've never thought about it this way before. We’ve been waiting for peace to come by a miracle since 2011; I have never thought that we should build it ourselves. This play enriched me with wonderful ideas that I should rethink about.”
Rita Jarallah, one of our procurement team, said: "When we were in the shop, choosing the Christmas gifts, I was imagining the smiles of the children when they will open their gifts and find out a valuable toy, which their parents can't afford buying. Every child also will find a warm knitwear hat, scarf and three pairs of socks, made by some needy women, who were happy to earn some money for their families and make children warm with some clothes made with a lot of love. Actually this was my Christmas this year, a Christmas full of children warm smiles.”
Fadia Nassar, the project coordinator of Caritas Syria said: "While the play was running on the theater, I kept looking at the happy faces of the children, who were smiling and laughing all the time. It gave me a wonderful feeling that I can't describe…"
Sara, a 7 years old girl who attended the event said: "I am happy because I became a mother now. Caritas offered me this wonderful doll and I am her mother now. I will take good care of her all the time.”
John, a ten year old boy said: "I liked the play a lot, especially that it showed us the story of the birth of Jesus. Children like us were playing the role of The Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the magi and the shepherds. My dream is to become an actor, and I would like to perform something about Christmas like them next time.”
Dr. Rama Zreik, the Ambassador of Childhood and Goodwill attended the event and said: "Our Children need these ideas of peace and these wonderful concepts of love and conviviality. They are the ones who will rebuild Syria, and they should be taught these ideas from their early age."
Karim, 11 years old boy, said when we told him to say something to Caritas Germany who financed this event: "I would like to say thank you for Caritas Germany for this event and the nice gifts. You made our Christmas bright and full of joy this year!" (Asianews)
Sandra Awad, Responsabile della Comunicazione Caritas Siria