I’ll bet if you type that in your “search” bar the next word that comes up this morning is “Syria.” Do you know where Palmyra is? Do you know why it was important? Do you know what Aleppo looked like seven years ago?
Syrians asked for democracy, more democracy, but their leader said, “Nope. Don’t think so.” Some of his people do not want to live under his regime, so now they’re called rebels and terrorists. They are modern David’s throwing stones at Goliath. The world watched the stone lobbing. Watched Russia come and defend their friend against the pitiful rebels. Sounds like the synopsis of some famous space movie, perhaps? The world watched and raised alarms, donated, wrote articles about it, and the US sent a few troops and munitions to help the rebels, all done very quietly, so as not to piss off the sleeping bears too much. (We’re done being government topplers. It looks good on paper, anyway.)
Meanwhile, human beings left their broken country seeking a place to lay their heads without fear of being shelled by rebels or their own country. Hospitals and fleeing convoys of buses were bombed. The world watched. The US said, “Hell no, you’re not coming in here, we don’t want your terrorists sneaking in under your robes. This is not our problem.”
The world woke up when the Syrian air force dropped chemical weapons on its own people. Suddenly Syria matters? Suddenly Syria matters. I guess gassing children to death is the threshold the world will take, echoes of the Iraqi Kurds?
If there was a peaceful way to overthrow the leader of Syria, the world would have been all for it, but he chose to clamp down on his people, to dig in, ready for a fight. If there was a peaceful way to end the conflict, I would be all for it. But in my world, peace doesn’t mean, “It’s not my war, it’s not my problem, I can’t get involved, peace at all costs.” The chasm inside me that I’m walking around with is ready to swallow me whole because asking the world to come to the aid of Syrians means our young men and women might die in the process.
One does not happily ask for war. I can only hope the world comes together and puts enough pressure on the leader of Syria that he and his family find themselves … elsewhere.