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Local Syrian draws attention to plight of her hometown Aleppo

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse University professor Manar Shabouk reads messages from people in her hometown of Aleppo, Syria.

Thousands of people all over the world are condemning the reported massacre of civilians in Aleppo, Syria, as a cease-fire in the eastern part of the besieged city seems to have fallen apart. And some central New Yorkers are among those raising their voice.

Manar Shabouk teaches Arabic at Syracuse University. She’s busy right now grading tests and taking care of end-of-semester business. But she says she can’t ignore what’s happening in her home city of Aleppo any longer. So she decided to help organize a vigil at Syracuse University for Wednesday evening to make sure central New York can show it's support for a population almost 6,000 miles away.

"This might be one of the simplest things we can do. We have an Arab proverb,” said Shabouk, reciting the saying in her native language. “A person drowning in water can cling to a straw. So if there is any piece of a thing floating, we’re trying to have hope.”

Shabouk says standing on the snowy cold steps of Hendrick’s Chapel on the S-U campus for the vigil is important so that the civilians in East Aleppo know they are not alone. And on a bigger front, Shabouk hopes the world starts paying more attention to what she says amounts to genocide in this war torn country.

"We’re in despair, because what more, what more does the world need to see to make a stop to this?"

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.