Syria needs massive humanitarian assistance, not a pat on the back for destroying their chemical weapons

I am ashamed. Ashamed that we, the “West” have let down the people of Syria, leaving them to be slaughtered or scattered with no hope of assistance. While we tend to remember our own losses of almost 3,000 lives on September 11, I can’t help but think of the humanitarian disaster facing Syrians for the past 2+ years. The term Holocaust is jealously guarded by us Jews, but don’t think it would be going too far to call 1 million displaced persons/refugees, and over 100,000 dead, a Syrian Holocaust.

The world hailed Syrians more than two years ago when they rose up in non-violent demonstrations demanding more freedom from their dictator, Bashar Assad. But Bashar’s regime responded with violence that only increased as the non-violent movement grew throughout Syria. No doubt, the situation in Syria is beyond complex, not dissimilar from the demographic challenges faced by its neighbor Lebanon, and which caused decades of civil war and occupation, first by Israel, and later by Syrian forces sent to “help” Lebanon. With their mix of Sunni, Shia, Christians, Druze and other minorities, both countries need to balance the needs of the various communities, while making sure that all are secure and treated equally by their governments. In practice, this is hard to impossible to implement. Syria resolved their sectarian issues for many years by relying on an all-powerful dictator to ensure the rights of minorities. The system seemed to work well, if one ignores the ~20,000 dead in Hama, accused by Hafez Assad of being Muslim Brotherhood insurgents. Since that massacre in 1982, few have dared raised a voice against either Assad, father or son.

So here’s were we stand, with more than 100,000 dead from “traditional” weapons, not WMD, not chemical weapons. Another 250,000 injured and more than a million refugees and displaced persons. And yet, it still doesn’t have the shock value of losing 3,000 humans in a single terrorist attack. The two can never be compared.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s