THE FORGOTTEN SYRIA
BY JENNIFER RAWLINGS
Three years ago in the Spring of 2011 a group of peaceful young protesters in Syria took to the streets demanding economic and political reform. President Bashar al –Assad responded to the protests with deadly force. The conflict quickly turned into a civil war that has had grave consequences for the entire region.
For three years the U.N, the United States Congress, the President of the United States, the E.U., the Security Council, and many others with fancy initials and big titles have been expressing their dismay for what is happening in Syria. They take votes, they vow to enforce sanctions, and they issue stern warnings. Hmmmm? I guess President Bashar al-Assad, who has used chemical weapons on his own citizens, doesn’t find a “stern warning or a vote” very scary.
While the world leaders have been issuing proclamations and warnings, over 140,000 civilians have died in Syria – many of them children. 2.4 million refugees have fled Syria, and an additional 4 million are displaced inside Syria.
For a moment lets look at Syria differently; lets strip away the man made boarders, forget about race and religion, economics, political parties, and the “what’s in it for us?” global mentality. Let’s look at this strip of land that is at 35°00’ North latitude and 38°00’ East longitude and in many ways just like the neighborhood you live in. Until three years ago its streets were full of children playing, moms and dads going to work, and teenagers on Facebook and Twitter.
Take a close look at this strip of land and imagine it’s your neighborhood. Imagine that 140,000 of your friends, family and neighbors have been killed by bombs, sniper fire, chemical weapons, gas, and torture. Imagine that almost 10 percent of the dead are children and that young children routinely carry the bodies of other children to be buried. Imagine that for three years war has ravaged YOUR neighborhood and the world watches you die as they take a vote and issue stern warnings.
Ever since World War II the global community has vowed to “never again” tolerate genocide and war crimes, yet here we sit, “again and again”, 140,000 dead and for that….. a vote, a resolution, and then another death.
Let’s stop watching the civil war in our global neighborhood and start demanding immediate action to restore the peace.