Friday, 1 June 2012

A whimper in the dark

I'm taking a break from my blogging hiatus today. I'm taking time out from my busy work schedule. I'm finally sitting down to read the full news reports on something that happened last week in a place called Houla in Syria. I heard about it when it happened, but I tried to block it out. I was getting tired of Syria and its monster of a president and how, through the support of Russia and China, he kept getting away with terrorising his own people and all the UN and the rest of the world could do was tut-tut at his behaviour.

This time though, something about the reports coming out of Houla caught my attention--what happened there was clearly a massacre. Over a hundred people died not as a result of random shelling, but of being shot and/or stabbed. And here's the heartbreaking bit: as of last count, almost half of the dead are children, many of whom had parts of their bodies hacked or blown off. Some of them were mere babies and toddlers. Some weren't much older than my own kids. None of them deserved to die the way they did.

It has been a week since the massacre. Russia and China are still refusing to let the UN Security Council take any action against Syria. The UN is still trying to get Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria implemented, ignoring the fact that what's happening in Syria now is similar to what happened in Rwanda and Bosnia,where hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. It's enough to make anyone tear their hair out in desperation.

It's so easy for the leaders of the world to condemn what's going on in Syria and shake their heads at their helplessness at the situation. It's so easy for ordinary citizens like you and me to shake our heads at our own helplessness, to look at our kids and thank God or the universe that we are in a place where we can sleep at night knowing that our kids are safe and no one will barge into our homes to hurt them.

It's so easy to talk in broad terms about history and politics and culture and heck, even religion, and how these have made Syria the way it is now. But really, shouldn't we start talking about the people of Syria instead, and what they need right now? They need safety and security. They need their children to live and grow up. Who's going to give them what they need? If we can't rely on the UN to do this, who else can we turn to?

This is why we can no longer block Syria out. The Syrian people's pleas for help may have sounded like a whimper in the dark to most of us, but maybe if we merge our voices with theirs, we can get them the help that they need. Maybe, just maybe, if we get together and let our leaders know that we can't let them ignore the Syrian people any longer, they might actually do something now. Let's shout out loud and  let them know that we do care and we want them to, as well. 

[There are petitions from Amnesty International and Save the Children that you can sign. If you're a blogger, you can join the protest by blogging about Syria and if you're on Twitter, you can link to your post by using the tags #Syria #tippingpoint  #Stopthekilling. ]

[Edit: There's another petition from Avaaz that you can sign, plus a whole load of blog posts from other women at BritMums. Let's keep talking about this!]