Opinion: What’s goin’ on Syria?
While Syria continues to tear itself apart, UNICEF is working within the country and its neighbouring lands to provide children with medical care, as Tessa Dhanaraj explains:
The violence in Syria seems to be an unfortunate mainstay in the current news, as the number of attacks and the death toll continues to rise. The issues in Syria have not only become an issue to the people of the nation but to the whole world, as unrest continues.
Personally, I feel the Syrian government is bloodthirsty, and just wants to be fighting someone, but really, what’s their reason? The violence in Syria began on March 15, 2011 when protests in the cities of Deraa and Damascus took place. Locals demanded the release of 15 schoolchildren who were arrested in February for creating graffiti promoting the downfall of President Bashar Assad’s regime. The protests began peacefully, simply asking for the release of the children, in addition to democracy and more freedom for the Syrian people.
Unfortunately, though, the response the protesters got was a very violent one. On March 18, activists said five people were killed while security forces attempted to disperse crowds in Deraa. The next day, the government’s army shot at mourners at the funerals of the victims, killing one more person. Is this ok? I think it’s not unsurprising that shock and anger arose in people throughout the country, thus leading to unrest spreading throughout the nation. In what world is it acceptable for the government to shoot at mourners? They’re quietly expressing their grief, yet the government won’t even allow THAT.
All the people of Syria had wanted was more freedom and democracy in their country – not so much to ask when considering the rights the citizens of so many other nations have. Once fire was opened upon people at peaceful demonstrations, however, things began to progress. The people demanded President Bashar al-Assad resign. He refused to resign but did offer to change some of the ways the nation was run. Protesters didn’t believe Assad’s statements, though – not that they really should considering that violence was set upon them, unprovoked by nothing but peaceful demonstrations. Fun fact – a quick Wiki search on Bashar al-Assad brought up that until his instatement into parliament in 2000, the now-president held little to no interest in politics.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of focus internationally on Syria, with America, France, Britain and other nations reacting to news that Syria may have been using chemical weapons in their attacks. Such weapons are banned under international law due to their effects being so devastating. Interestingly, yesterday I watched a video posted on a law blog relating to “Obama-hate”. One very powerful man in Syria was being interviewed on a local news channel where he was openly cussing against Obama, calling him a “black bastard” and other very racist names. When asked what would happen if America were to invade Syria he said, “They can’t. No one can invade Syria. And if they do, we will be waiting with our chemical weapons to annihilate them.” Something is inherently wrong inside this man and the rest of the Syrian government’s minds. Have they stopped to think who they are waging this war on? Have they considered the number of innocent people being injured and fatally wounded due to their pig-headedness? Granted, Obama intervening may not be in the best interest of America or Syria, but someone NEEDS to do something.
In August 2013, a suspected chemical attack near Damascus was reported to have killed hundreds of people. Although it’s very difficult to determine what exactly happened, there is no doubt that something has to be done. The issues that have been arising in Syria have become the world’s issues, as civilians rights are constantly being taken away, including the rights of millions of Syrian children.
Although over a million children have fled from Syria, each day, millions more Syrian people have to deal with the horrific violence happening in their nation. Stories of children being beaten, abused physically and sexually, or even killed abound. Even more children have lost their homes and their schools, with reports that nearly 2 million Syrian children have had to drop out of school to date. Children are having to struggle to get adequate food and clean water for themselves. No child deserves to struggle like these children are. Something simply has to be done.
UNICEF is working within Syria and its neighbouring countries to provide medical care, clean water, and clothing for children in need. It is also working to provide safe spaces for children and to help children that have suffered psychological distress due to the tragedies occurring in their country. UNICEF continues to help millions of children in need by support from millions of people all over the world. Check out their global parent sponsorships to do what you can to help the children of Syria who so desperately need your support at this time of emergency.
Words by Tessa Dhanaraj