Thursday, April 14, 2016

Refugees (NC17 Content)

Intervention by outsiders in this conflict
 hasn't helped much, nor has it been
well received.
The Syrian conflict has precipitated the largest humanitarian crisis in the history of the world.

This was done to them.  The eleven million+ displaced persons didn't invite the air strikes and chemical weapons to their neighborhood.

Consider for a moment if this was you in the picture (left). If you had to collect your family and whatever you could carry and leave for the nearest national border just to survive.  How would you manage, walking day after day?  And if you made it across the border, consider your next months and years in a makeshift camp where there are no jobs, no stores, no schools for your kids.  It has been like that for five years.

Syria's uprising began in March 2011, when protesters marched in the capital of Damascus, demanding democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners. The security forces responded by opening fire on the protesters, killing five.  (The protest itself was triggered by the February arrest of a boy and his friends by the government for writing a graffiti called "The people want the fall of the regime", in the city of Daraa.)

Five years later, refugees try to keep warm by burning trash (mostly plastic) in a tent settlement
in West Bekaa, Lebanon, near the Syrian border. (© 2016, Jon Warren | World Vision)

At latest count, the U.N. has identified 13.5 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance (food, shelter, medical help).  Included are more than six million inside and five million outside the country who have been driven from their homes.  Half of them are children.  Millions have had to quit school.  They've left their jobs, their possessions, their communities, and fled for their lives.

"Syrian children have been used as human shields, shot at by snipers, jailed by the regime and in some instances summarily executed by the opposition. 
But as Save the Children notes in their report, “It is not just the bullets and the shells that are killing and maiming children. They are also dying from the lack of basic medical care.” 
Across Syria, an estimated 60 percent of hospitals and 38 percent of primary health facilities have been damaged or destroyed, according to Save the Children. Drug production is down by roughly 70 percent, and nearly half of all doctors have fled the country. In the besieged city of Aleppo there should be 2,500 doctors, but according to the study, just 36 remain." ~PBS JASON M. BRESLOW 2014

Should the world intervene to bring an end to the violence.  Perhaps, if it can be done collaboratively and with appropriate force and constraint.  Not an easy task.

Should the world step in to assist those in need.  Of course.
Anything less would be the same as just walking by on the other side of the street.

Aleppo before the war ...
And thus we come face to face with today's real world.  We had hoped to end such slaughter a century ago.  We began with the League of Nations, hoping to come together as adults to oversee the world and end the violence and hatred.

There are things we as individuals might do including, as Pope Francis has said, we can pray fervently for an end.  As a nation, there is so much more that we might do, of course, if we can get over our unreasoning cowardice fear.

Aleppo today.

Syria’s national wealth, infrastructure, and institutions have been “almost obliterated” by the “catastrophic impact” of nearly five years of conflict. Fatalities caused by war, directly and indirectly, amount to 470,000, a far higher total than the figure of 250,000 used by the United Nations until it stopped collecting statistics 18 months ago. 
In all, 11.5% of the country’s population have been killed or injured since the crisis erupted in March 2011, and half the population has been driven out of their homes.   ~The Guardian 2/2016


Lara Keller said...

As someone posted on Facebook wisely ..............
"What's wrong with the world? Let me tell you one of the things wrong with it... that for a week hundreds have shared a touching picture of children in front of a UN tent in a refugee camp. The tent says something along the lines of, "if you don't want refugees in your country, then stop voting for people who bomb our countries"..............Oh, of course, there is a lot of truth in that, but of course, it is only a partial truth, because most of those people are in refugee camps not because of Western leaders, but because of the bombs dropped on them by the Assad regime, by its partner Russia, even by its solid supporters, the mercenaries of Hezbollah and the Iranian Artesh or even their special forces.
How many people share this [another] picture? With children actually under the bombs, standing in the rubble of what was probably their own street, telling you Russia and the regime are killing them by bombs and starvation. How come this picture is not some hotly shared meme? How come it's more pleasant for us to share out "Western burden" than to share and raise awareness of the facts of the genocide of the Syrian people????" Get it?

Lara Keller said...

Or maybe ............ At heart the progressives' cancerous misconception is that the Syrian Revolution is not important, and is inevitably unsustainable. They believe "Islam" is generally against representative government, different ethnic and religious groups will inevitably fight, the Syrian people have no real understanding of progressive democracy ............ and many believe as the Green Party's Jenny Jones said on BBC QuestionTime recently "Assad's Syria before the revolution was a good place to live" ........... This attitude is both chauvinistic, grossly insulting and absolutely wrong. The Syrian Revolution is our struggle, we are all confronting the same struggle for representative government against entrenched elites. The revolution wins in Berlin, London,Paris, Washington .... because it wins in Damascus.

Lara Keller said...

p.s. before you say it ........ includes raising awareness of who is responsible ....... try ME dictatorships, Iran, Saudi (fundys) , Shiite militias and their backers Russia, China .....

Brian Dickerson said...

Thank you Lara. I understand your objection to the photo, and I agree. It was included only to point out that external efforts to end the slaughter have not succeeded. The larger issue is indeed the extraordinary destruction brought on the Syrian people. Assad's Syria before the revolution was an oppressive dictatorship, and the people rising up against him are justified just like all of us whose history is similar. Each of us hopes for a decent place in the world for ourselves and our children. We hope and pray for the innocent millions of Syria as well.