BLOG 363 September 4, 2017
Americans have an interesting habit of listening intently to a crisis, getting highly upset, and then in a few days forgetting all about it. Right now the disaster in Houston is on everyone’s mind. Give it a week or so and we go on to the next issue and leave Houston underwater.
Currently, the nation’s media appears to be doing so with the civil war in Syria. Not much as appeared lately, but the wheels of destruction continue to grind away in that war torn land. One of the major mistakes of the Obama Era was drawing red lines and then doing nothing when the Assad regime crossed them. Trump fired a few rockets and then went back to the latest debacle created by his administration. Without a sustained American policy and plan, the people fighting in Syria struggle on often when there is no hope in sight.
Wendy Pearlman’s book We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled, chronicles the Syrian lives that are struggling to survive. A professor of politics at Northwestern University, Pearlman speaks fluent Arabic, and has traveled extensively through the area collecting stories of what happened to the citizens. A doctor told her about the unconventional method they discovered to deal with tear gas victims. They pour cola on their faces and that counters the effects of the gas.
Amin, a physical therapist, shared how they evade security forces who dial them through the cell phones captured from people they trapped. After killing them, they dial numbers on their cells to find their next victims. Amin said they don’t delete the original phone numbers but change the name to Martyr. When a call comes in on the deceased phone, they know it’s the regime. When he opened his contact list, it was all Martyr, Martyr, Martyr.
Syria created the “weaponization of health care” as the government with more than 800 medical workers killed in hundreds of attacks. Doctors were arrested for treating injured protestors while medical supplies were withheld from besieged areas. Inhumanity continues to rule supreme.
The continuing refugee crisis remains one of the biggest challenges in memory. European countries still struggle to know how to deal with immigrate populations that swamp their cities. Syrian populations continue to attempt to get out of the country. The Geneva Convention on protecting civilians in wartime was never consistently enforced and is now openly flouted. The Syrian crisis is currently pushing the world toward nationalism and the rise of the security state. The world seems awash in chaos and uncertainty more so than at any time since the end of the cold war.
The Syrian war goes on and the whole world pays the price. The old adage, “Lord help us,” certainly applies.