Several days ago I watched a documentary piece on Channel 4 News and ever since I have been struggling to get it out my head. It concerned the plight of Syrian refugees.
As you may or may not be aware, the Syrian crisis has spawned more than six million refugees - desperate people fleeing for their lives from unspeakable horrors. Though some have made it to western countries, the vast majority find themselves in refugee camps closer to home - in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
At the start of this month, a small Channel 4 team made their way through the snowy hills of Lebanon to a remote camp where freezing families live in tents and cardboard shelters. The refugees have little food and limited access to firewood, electricity or reliable piped water.
They are also short of another important necessity - hope. It feels as if the world has abandoned them even after being driven from their homes and all that they had known by the brutal Bashar Hafez al-Assad - a cruel wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.
The part of the video that really struck home for me was when Abdullah, the father of a large Syrian family, carved up nylon insulation tiles. to put in his small iron stove to create some heat for his wife and children in their. sopping wet tent. Of course, such fuel is dangerous because as well as providing some heat, it also creates toxic fumes. These were being breathed in by a coughing baby of six weeks and Abdullah's young toddler had several swollen burns on his hands through reaching out to touch the stove.
Another crushed father, Hassan, said, "Our future has gone. There is nothing."
We don't hear much about Syrian refugees in the TV news these days. Years are passing by and the refugees remain massed in desperate camps, struggling to survive with minimal support from aid agencies and the international community. These poor Syrian people were driven from their own ruined country to find sanctuary elsewhere and what have the majority found? Hopelessness, that's all. Meanwhile...