Monday, 4 July 2016

Look back and ahead in anger

 "It is not too late to attempt to challenge the axis of Russia, Iran and Assad in Syria. For five years serious diplomats, military officers and experts proposed a variety of options to help the Syrians help themselves to get rid of Assad: safe zones, for displaced Syrians under the protection of air power provided by the U.S. and regional states, enhanced military training and equipping moderate opposition groups, limited and specific deployments of special forces from the U.S. and European and Arab allies, to defeat ISIS in Syria and turn the liberated areas to the Syrian opposition groups to work with Arab forces as stabilization force. Such a relatively small Western-Arab force can intervene in Syria without the approval of the Security Council, as was the intervention in Kosovo.

 It is important to keep reminding people that Syria, is our collective shame in the twenty first century, that it gave the lie to the cry of “never again”. During the Nazi war of extermination against European Jewry, a relatively small enlightened community that distinguished itself by its tremendous contribution to European civilization, most of the horrific deed was done in relative darkness, although some Western leaders were aware that unspeakable evil was let loose; Syria’s evil on the other hand is operating in high noon, and we see it live on video, bloody blow after bloody blow. Let’s make people inconvenient once again: Half a million people died in Syria, many of them civilians with a frightening percentage of children. Forty five percent of Syrians have been displaced.
 The population has already shrunk by 21 percent, with 7 million internally displaced and almost 5 million refugees living in squalid camps in neighboring countries or roaming the highways and byways of Europe seeking shelter and a home. The Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to a lesser extent in Jordan are subjected to abuse and exploitation, they suffer from malnutrition, and many young refugees are deprived of basic schooling, some girls and women are subjected to sexual abuse and sexual slavery. Arranged or forced marriages of teenage girls is rising. And then there is the growing phenomenon of many young teenage Syrians, particularly girls turning to suicide as a way out of their private hell. In 2014 one UN study found that 41 percent of Syrian youths in Lebanon have harbored thoughts of committing suicide.
 A decade or two from now, many of these refugees, who may never go back to their homes, and some of them will never shed that status; will look back in anger at those who turned them refugees and those who exploited them and that would be enough to harden their hearts. And when they look ahead, they would do so in anger too, for they may see nothing but quiet and not so quiet lives of desperation."

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