It has been over six years since the Syrian civil war erupted. More than six years of observing a daily carnage of men, women and children.
By early 2016, the death toll had reached over 470,000 civilians. In this complex conflict, we have unquestionably seen it all; to the point where many have shamefully become desensitized to the suffering of the Syrian people. The world has once again turned its back on the most vulnerable.
On Tuesday morning, we were again reminded of the atrocities Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is willing to inflict on his own people.
A video circulating social media showed dozens of civilians including children and babies, suffocating and foaming to what appear to be a hurtful and slow death.
Their own president used sarin, a brutal nerve toxin, killing at least 83 civilians, 23 of whom were children. I couldn’t watch for more than a few seconds. Like in previous occasions, I felt powerless, ashamed, and desperate to act.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Secretary of State Rex Tyllerson called the attacka serious matter that “requires a serious response.”
President Trump said the attack “crossed many many lines” and that seeing the images of the children made him want to act.
On late Thursday evening, Trump fired 59 missiles to an area occupied by Syrian military equipment.
Trump has linked his decision to attack the Syrian regime to the suffering of those who died on the hands of the deadly chemical, but I don’t believe him. And you shouldn’t either.
If Trump and his administration cared about Syrian civilians they would not be attempting to ban them from coming to the U.S. for the last 11 weeks.
If Trump cared about Syrianchildren he wouldn’t have included defunding foreign aid as part of his budget.
Finally, if Trump cared about Syrians he, like many other world leaders who have condemned the chemical weapons attack, should have done something sooner.
Why do we wait until things like this happen to take action? What if Assad had not used chemical weapons, and bomb the village instead? Would we had reacted the same way?
Absolutely not, because he has been doing that for the last six years and we have done nothing.
In the study of psychology there is a theory called the bystander effect, it refers to instances in which individuals do not offer help to those in need when others are around.
With over a dozen groups and nations involved in the Syrian civil war, this theory proves true.
But we have seen the consequences of inaction in the past. The holocaust may be one of the most prevalent examples with over 10 million people massacred before the eyes of the world.
If in fact Trump wants to help Syrian civilians, he must come up with a cohesive plan of collaboration with other powerful nations to bring peace to the region. If his administration only plans to react when chemical weapons are used, then last Thursday was a sad day for humanity.
Albert Einstein once said, “the world won’t be destroyed by those who do evil, but rather by those who watch them without doing nothing.”