Syria – This generation’s Rwanda?


Syria worsens

“It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror.” – Bill Clinton’s apology to the people of Rwanda

80,000 have died in the civil war in Syria, over four million have relocated within the country and potentially up to two million are now in Lebanon, Jordan and other neighbouring countries, and also this week there appeared to be evidence of a chemical attack by Assad on his own people. At what point do the politicians believe the imaginary “Red Line” has been crossed?

I fully understand the hesitancy up to now as there is still a hangover from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when the Russians are “completing a contract” to supply arms to the country things need to escalate in terms of the UN and Nato and soon. 300,000 died in Rwanda in the 90s because of the inaction of the world’s most powerful nations. Regardless what is said about recent wars we do have to ask what can be done to stop this from becoming a bigger atrocity than that one was. While there is not the shadow of genocide hanging over the Syrian people, there are still too many innocent men, women and children struggling to stay alive and safe in a country they once called home.

Unicef are struggling to finance the refugee camps in surrounding nations and if we do nothing else we must supply the desperately needed humanitarian aid that these people need and deserve. This war will not end in victory for anyone now; too much blood has been spilled on both sides for there to be a short term positive outcome which could lead to more problems in years to come with militant groups and Iran ready to step in and help fill that vacuum making it an even more problematic situation for the future.

Watching the scenes of the parents carrying their injured children must be breaking through even the most hardened hearts in political circles. You could not imagine the pain and anger these people are facing from their own government as the rest of us sit back and watch it unfold. We have a duty to stop this in any way possible and while talks about talks are on going there doesn’t seem to be anyone standing up to lead the way on this. The power of Russia and China as the allies of the Syrian regime makes this a very difficult and dangerous balancing act and really the UN needs to put pressure on these countries to try to find a way through.

There are no easy answers, but as I watch more and more massacres, bodies, children standing alone in rubble looking to the sky for answers I hope that in an office there is a man or woman sitting watching day after day and realising that we are in danger of leaving a population to die at the hands of a regime that is only concerned with self preservation and nothing more.


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