The alarming escalation of the systematic crackdown of the Syrian people at the hands of their own government demands greater attention by the global community, especially here in America.
As fall grows closer, the goldfish-like attention span of America will drift towards presidential campaign mania. This quadrennial tendency makes the public eyes of Americans drift even further towards introverted self involvement. It is during this period that Americans need to remain aware of the current events that will still define what our generation did, whether we acknowledge these events or not.
As a citizen of one of the most powerful nations in the world, I believe we have a duty to make sure that basic human rights are not systematically transgressed upon. This is especially more true when it concerns the citizens of other less fortunate nations, especially when at the hands of their own government. In regards to mass atrocity crimes taking place in the world, this time we know (referring to the allies who said they would have intervened sooner against Nazi Germany had 'we only known'). If we remain comatose and act complacent whilst doing so, we will become morally culpable and thus, morally defeated.
In this now nearly year-long conflict, the death toll in Syria has exceeded 8,000 with the brutal violence that took place over this weekend. The Arab League has observed these atrocities and has gone to the United Nations with both their findings and recommendations. Overwhelmingly, the support for these resolutions has been unanimous in the global community, except with the fatal exception of two of the five veto power nations, Russia and China.
Even when Kofi Annan visited Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government on behalf of a U.N.-Arab League envoy, the Syrian government led another massacre in Homs. Activists claim that between 50 and 100 women and children were killed in the neighborhood of Karm al-Zeitoun.
While the option of unilateral action is certainly a possibility, a consensus or coalition is a more desirable option. If more grassroots activism to rally the world's diplomats takes place, our generation can promote action, instead of just words. Or else, the already heinously high figure of 8,000 deaths will continue to rise.
The question you must ask yourself shouldn't be one of ledgers and dollars, but rather of moral principle. In approximately 20 years when your child comes home from school after learning about these events and asks you about Homs, Bashar al-Assad, and Syria, what will you say to them?
"Well, we ran this equation, and it turned out that the price per human life just didn't merit any action and abstaining from action saved us a lot of money"
Or, "Let me tell you about the humanitarian intervention that deposed this despotic dictator and liberated the citizens of Syria."
I implore you to take action so we can keep Syria off of a macabre list that includes the likes of Rwanda, Sarajevo, Srebrenica, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The sooner we act the better chance there will be for preventing a further and needless increase of this death toll.
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