Last Tuesday, airstrikes and heavy bombing tore through Aleppo. But if you attend Andover, you might not have heard about it. hundreds of Aleppo citizens died amidst shelling and artillery fire, many Andover students poured over pictures of Kylie Jenner at the Met Gala and discussed Malia Obama’s decision to take a gap year. While the hashtag #AleppoIsBurning became an international statement of solidarity with Aleppo, it remained largely invisible at Andover, where students’ Snapchat stories instead exploded over Leicester City’s Premier League win.
Since last week, nearly 300 people have died in Syria’s largest city. The bombing of a hospital in Aleppo killed at least 50 doctors and patients last Wednesday, shutting down the main referral center for pediatric care in the area. Homes, hospitals, and schools continued to be destroyed as fighting intensified between rebel armies and Syrian government forces, until a partial truce was called on Wednesday.
Although the chaos that has swallowed Aleppo in the last week cannot be rectified with a hashtag, social media campaign, or conversation at a table in Paresky Commons, Andover’s general silence about this devastation, on social media and in person, is unacceptable. But it is not just Aleppo that we must remember and mourn for. As a community of many students who claim to be “citizens of the world,” it is our obligation to pay attention to news from other parts of the world. It is our responsibility to know, beyond the basic facts and headlines, the tragedies that torment people whose lives and concerns differ drastically from our own.
We may not feel the vibrations of an earthquake or hear the explosions of mortar shells while living on Andover’s campus, but that does not permit us to live in ignorance. When we allow ourselves to be consumed by news stories about celebrities, or any type of media that only documents events in the United States, we actively ignore the suffering of our counterparts across the globe. We turn inward; we turn away from each other. We forget that cities can burn in any country.
As we each approach adulthood, we are becoming more and more accountable for the future of our world. We can choose to lead insular lives of privilege, or we can choose to pay attention, to read the news, to look for the stories that do not automatically dominate our newsfeeds. The choice is each of ours to make. This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian, vol. CXXXIX.