2:48pm, 3rd March, 2018
The moment we stop fighting “for” each other, that’s the moment we lose our humanity.
Over 500 people dead in the last one week including 121 children. These innocent civilians fell victim to the mass murder due to bombardment by the government forces of their country. Yes they were the citizens of Syria, where the government, in its quest to crush the opposing rebel forces has forgotten to differentiate between civilians and the rebel outfits, sparing not even the innocents in the bloodbath that has become Syria’s identity. Over 393,000 people remain trapped in the area of Eastern Ghouta which Syrian forces backed by Russia have been pounding since last Sunday. The humanitarian crisis has been largely due to the government of Syria and its allies Iran and Russia. UN Security Council has been debating and is struggling on a ceasefire resolution, but Russia is not ready to back down without dealing a final blow to the rebel forces in Damascus and has been accused by western powers of stalling time. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the conditions in Syria as hell on earth. There couldn’t have been a more apt term to describe the country that’s almost on the verge of its destruction.
The Syrian Civil war has stretched on for more than six years now and the end seems to be nowhere in sight. Over 400,000 people have lost their lives and more than 5 million people have fled the country. But this article is not to discuss the background and the causes of the war; this is to discuss the world’s appalling silence and ignorance over the plight of Syria. People are so busy living in their comfortable delusional worlds where Syria is a far off mythical land where no matter how many more people keep dying every day, it’s going to have no effect on rest of the world. You probably think that what has happened to that country could never happen to your’ s or to put it more bluntly, you have no business paying attention to the fate of Syria. To you, Syria exists in a different universe, unworthy of your empathy or even your attention. The dying children, the pain of those innocent people means nothing to you, the violence doesn’t bother you, because their existence never did in the first place. But you see, the Syrians too probably never thought that this could happen to them, that the bloodshed would go long for this long.
You might think, why should you bother about it and anyway it is an international issue, so what difference would it make even if chose to bother? Let us discuss the first why. Firstly, we need to bother about Syria because of the most simple reason that we are human. If the sight of little Aylan Kurdi washed up on the shores of the sea didn’t shake your senses, if the sight of countless starving homeless scared Syrian children doesn’t wake you up from your slumber or if the thought of countless innocent people being killed like insects on daily basis doesn’t make a difference to you, then I don’t know what will. Why is it that a mass shooting in Chicago triggers protests throughout the world but no one even bats an eyelid over the news of thousands of lives being torn apart in Syria every single day. Have we stooped so low that even our empathy has become biased upon what sells and what not? Why is it that some lives get the sympathy of the entire world and the value of some lives is reduced to being cheaper than oil? Will you only take notice when Facebook makes it the new cool to upload your DP with the Syrian flag? Just remember, when the world let Iraq and Afghanistan bleed, Taliban happened. And now while the world is busy ignoring Syria, ISIS is happening. Proxy battlegrounds like the war torn Syria are the breeding ground of terrorists. Some people believe that Syria deserves it because the country gave birth to the deadliest terrorist outfits of recent times, ISIS. But have you spared a thought as to why people become terrorists? Because they were neglected, because nobody paid attention to them when they being exploited. When atrocities were being committed against them, nobody saved them. And that is what led them to get misguided and blindfolded in the farce of religious bigotry . Because these people see every day, their country being reduced to ashes, their culture, their heritage being brought to ruins, their children killed, their houses burnt, their women raped and still not a ray of justice. Their fault? Being born in a country caught in the vicious web of political unrest and violence. The cycle is same everywhere. Exploitation of the weak and poor for the gains of the rich and powerful. The weak take up arms first in defence, and then get misguided and forget to differentiate between their exploiters and the innocent. That is how every terrorist outfit comes into existence, by luring the downtrodden, by misguiding the people who have been wrong and denied justice into false promises of religious salvation. The developed nations leave no opportunity of exploiting and taking advantage of a weaker country with abundant resources.
Now the second question, what you as an individual can do? You could just start by being aware , raise your voice against the heinous cruelty and the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Talk, write, share, create and spread awareness. Opinions are like waves. They travel far and wide. A single person’s opinion might not matter to the world, but a country’s opinion sure does. And when the country is a contender for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, its opinion matters. Being a citizen of that country, you have the power to shape up the mentality of an entire nation, in your own little capacity.
The killing in Syria can be stopped. It is going on because what was an internal political matter of Syria has been blown into a proxy war among the world powers like USA and Russia and regional ones like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. These foreign interventions played the major role in promoting sectarianism between the Shia and Sunni communities of a predominantly secular Syria. The conflicts of the communities gave rise to the bloodiest episodes of violence of recent times. The world powers have long ago stopped thinking about the lives of Syrians and are now using the chaos for the fulfilment of their own interests in Syria. Why did these external powers intervene in the internal affairs of Syria? A well speculated theory suggests that all of this is for the control over the Natural Gas pipeline connecting the Middle East to Europe which is supposed to go through Syria. Russia, which uses its position as the supplier of a quarter of Europe’s natural gas as a political leverage , had its market in trouble due to this pipeline which would link Europe to the Middle East directly and straightaway reduce Europe’s dependency on Russia. Turkey came into the picture as it stands at crossroads of Asia & Europe and is an aspiring member of the European Union. Turkey is considered as the best option for facilitating the movement of gas supplies from Middle East to Europe. US and Turkey want to ensure free export of gas through suppliers in Middle East which is obviously not in the best interests of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Also, Iran’s interest lies in Shia bolstering and its involvement in the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah. So, all these powers are busy fuelling the war further for protection of their respective interests. They supply subsidized weapons, military advisors and monetary funding to the Syrian government forces and the rebel forces depending on who they support. If all of them stop funding the war, it would have stopped probably a long time ago.
Have you ever thought, a country that’s in flames, where does it get the money and resources to keep the war going on? The war is sponsored . Wars are always sponsored. Sponsored by the countries that claim to be the Messiah but in reality are the biggest sponsors of the genocide. It was Iraq in 2003 over oil. And now its Syria for natural gas. Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria. Which country is next?
The world needs to wake up to the pain of Syria. The UN needs to be stern and take measures for a political solution to the conflict. The refugees need to be rehabilitated and the people trapped and unable to flee Syria need to be rescued. In a way, all the countries that have cashed on the war by fuelling it owe the Syrians a safe future. And no, you can’t just blow up a country and ban its citizens from entering your own when they knock at your doorstep for help. If you are so concerned about protecting your country from terrorists, stop creating them. It is that simple.
So people, sit right back up and take notice of what’s happening around the world. Syria maybe far away, Myanmar is not. Don’t even be surprised if another ISIS rises out of the Rohingyas .The world has a lot to learn from the story of the destruction of Syria. How a protest against government oppression turned into widespread violence and how wrong tactics of brute force on the part of the Syrian government lead to the civil war. And the biggest lesson, that if a government invites foreign powers to intervene in its internal matters, they will plunder the country. If you let them in on the internal disputes of your country, if you stand divided as a nation on the basis of caste and religion, just remember , there are powers that are lurking just around the corner to cash in on the unrest.