One Month On After The World Officially Gave Up on Us.
The argument most used by those against the planned US airstrikes was that bombing Assad would “make things worse" and "kill more innocent people”. When asked for viable options to the alternative, most agreed that “doing nothing” was best since there “are no good guys in Syria”, including children. One infamous, yet seemingly popular, ex-politican suggested to “let Allah sort it out" as Assad continued to slaughter Syrians on a daily basis using conventional means.
Now, long after the ‘to strike or not’ campaign was resolved (so to speak), the world continues it’s debates over the merits of a UN report on the chemical massacre with no discernible goal. Even a part-time blogger, sitting from his home in the UK proved that only someone with the resources of the Assad regime could have carried out this attack, to think otherwise is fantasy. The Assad regime was not able to muster much of an excuse other than having an advisor to Assad, Bouthaina Sha’aban, claim that rebels kidnapped young Alawite children from Lattakia and then gassed them to death in Damascus. This story was used after the Assad regime denied that any chemical weapons were used at all.
So, just how much better did things in Syria get in the past 30 days? How did the “let’s do nothing” policy affect actual Syrians?
Not including the 678 confirmed deaths*** from the chemical massacre in Eastern Ghouta on Aug 21, 2013, this is how the rest of our month in Syria went, death-wise that is, under the wise option the politicians agreed on, which was to “do nothing” from Aug 21, 2013 to Sept 20, 2013:
Of the 98 girls under the age of 18 that were “conventionally” killed by Assad’s forces since Aug 21st, 12 were killed in airstrikes. 65 in shelling. 8 from gunshots and 9 children were executed. All by Assad’s forces.
Of 229 boys under the age of 18 that were “conventionally” killed by Assad’s forces since Aug 21st, 25 were killed in airstrikes. 125in shelling. 36 from gunshots and 17 children were executed and one died as a result of no medical care. All by Assad’s forces.
This means that 327 children were killed in the last 30 days alone. That’s 11 children every single day. To you, that is a number and a faceless statistic, to us, it’s a human child. This death toll of children, according to anti-war supporters, is apparently and hypothetically “better” than it would have been should a strike against Assad’s military had taken place, again, a hypothetical strike.
And yes, we do not mince our words. When I mention that 26 children were executed in various raids by Assad’s forces in the last month alone, it literally means these children were executed. These executions are by far not the first nor the last.
209 women were also killed in the same period, as were 1016 civilian men. In total, this means that 1,552 innocent civilian human beings were killed in Syria since Aug 21, 2013. The majority killed in the non-stop shelling of Syria’s cities and towns by Assad’s forces.
There were also 1,133 combatants killed in the same period, which brings the total death toll to 2,285 human lives lost.
Sine the US airstrikes were called off, not a single anti-war* proponent that opposed the US strikes has protested nor voiced any concern for the deaths of 2,285 people, all killed from Assad’s war against the people of Syria. Then again, we should not have expected any concern from this crowd as they actually hoisted photos of Assad, the man responsible for this massacre, at rallies. One pro-revolution, yet anti-strike/intervention Syrian activist @DarthNader summed it up best regarding these protests: “Remember when all the anti-Iraq war demonstrations had pictures of Saddam Hussein? Me neither.”
In the past month thousands of more Syrians have fled the country joining the 2 million + (registered only) refugees in countries that have become increasingly more hostile to them. Every 15 seconds a Syrian becomes a refugee. The so-called ‘World Powers’ have no plan to stop this flood of despair, nor do they anticipate or appreciate the demographic ramifications and nightmares it is causing host nations and the entire region. The conflict in Syria is not contained within the borders of Syria despite what one may think. As Assad promised Syrians “Assad or we burn the country" he has also promised the world that he will "set the region on fire" should he fall from his throne. What does the anti-war crowd think of this regional disaster? They have yet to acknowledge it or are callously indifferent to it.
One only needs to spend a few minutes watching some of these clips to understand what Syrians are up against.
To even begin to describe
the humanitarian disaster inside Syria is daunting in itself, nor can my words make one fully appreciate it. The WFP cannot even get food into places it is “allowed”
to serve (which is a small fraction of Syria). The United Nations is forbidden to offer shelter to liberated areas in the North of country unless invited to do so by the Assad regime (don’t hold your breath on an invite Mr Ban Ki-Moon). Close to 60% of all healthcare facilities
in the country are either gone or badly damaged. Diseases not seen on a wide-spread scale since the 19th century
are now common across much of the country. We are now witnessing some of the first cases of starvation
and death from malnutrition
in the suburbs of Damascus. In some areas, less than 10% of schools
are even functioning, thus creating a generation of children who are uneducated, forgotten, traumatized and know nothing but misery, hunger and war with absolutely no end in sight. Today’s disaster will pale in comparison to what tomorrow has in store.
In addition to the lack of response to the humanitarian disaster, President Obama has refused to provide any support to the FSA*** and has actively blocked any nation from providing any real support. The world desperately wants the US to take the lead in arming the FSA, without this leadership, no significant support will arrive. This in turn has not only allowed Al Qaida (ISIS) an entry into Syria, it has swelled their strength at the expense of the FSA and has resulted in Al Qaida invading and occupying at least two towns in the past 3 weeks alone (not including the towns and at least one provincial capital already under their control). These terrorists have executed about a dozen Syrians only in the last week or so for crimes such as being “infidels”, “traitors” or because they are from the Alawite sect. The dead in the past few days include at least 1 doctor and one media activist. It’s clearly in the interest of Al Qaida for the Assad regime to remain as it stands today, and for the country to remain as it is now. To think otherwise means you have not followed this group (AQ) long enough. A chaotic “failed state” in the ‘Levant’ region which is run by warlords where Assad is the largest at this point in time, is literally, to them, a God-send. We must also not forget that it was Assad himself who bears the largest burden of the responsibility for Al Qaida in Syria, releasing many of them from his prisons when the revolution began and using the pool of Jihadi’s that he trained to fight in Iraq starting in 2003.
Lost in the UN debate over the chemical massacre (bear in mind that Assad used chemical weapons on 26 separate occasions before Aug 21, 2013) and even lost in this article I write, is the humanitarian disaster at hand. No sooner had the first children of Ghouta succumbed to the sarin gas was the subject changed to “chmical weapons”, not “chemical deaths”. Forgotten are the 55,255 dead civilian Syrians (not including the 18,424 dead fighters) as of Sept 21, 2013. Forgotten are the majority of voices in Syria that wish to live in peace and above all in freedom from tyranny.
One month ago, it appeared that the world was ready to act against Assad and save us. Yet now this possibility is a distant dream. Assad has successfully won the media war, albeit using nothing more than lies and fantastical stories that, to the un-informed, have casted a shadow of doubt on the countless atrocities he has clearly committed. This doubt has foolishly directed policy-makers to make populist and unfounded decisions instead of acting on the principle of ‘doing the right thing’. I have no issue with the democratically elected process by which these decisions were made, however, the system by which a voter in the US or UK elects his/her representative based on a broad mandate, foreign policy included, was not utilized as it was historically. The public elects politicians entrusting them to be “informed” of policy issues, issues that us “regular people” don’t have time to inform themselves on nor would it be efficient to vote on (every single policy issue). A major problem with this process is that most representatives are not informed and are in-fact, deeply misinformed on Syria.
Most Americans, right up until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, did not want the US to get involved in WW II despite desperate pleas (and even espionage and propaganda) from the British. What if Pearl Harbor was not attacked? Would the US have stood by idly as Hitler continued to gas Jews and occupy Europe? Lucky for humanity, Hitler made the choice easy for Roosevelt when he declared war on the USA.
More than two years after the first protests emerged, we are now facing global 'Syria-fatigue'. Those that were kind enough to donate towards the humanitarian cause are now ignoring our continued call for assistance in what to many non-Syrians have labeled an “ugly conflict”, thus justifying the lack of human compassion towards our disaster. It has even caused a number of revolution supporters to doubt themselves and the revolution itself, crushing them under a mountain of impossible obstacles and endless tragedies. This makes the critical work of humanitarian aid much more difficult without their presence. To make matters worse, Al Qaida in Syria is kidnapping aid workers, activists, doctors and regular Syrians at a rate fast approaching that of the Assad regime, thus making it one more party, along with Iran, Russia, Hezbullah and Iraq all aligned against the people of Syria. Al Qaida do this in order to force the local population to submit to their self-apointed “Emir’s” very much like what the Assad family has done to Syrians for 40+ years.
To imagine that a single cruise missile smashing into Mount Qassioun in Damascus (where Assad’s SCUDS and CW rockets are launched from) could have possibly sent Assad’s forces scattering in chaos, sent Al Qaida back to their caves, dissuaded Russia to commit further support, caused Iran to withdraw from a battle it cannot win, sent Hezbullah back to Lebanon and the thousands of Iraqis fighting for Assad back to where they came from and caused millions of refugees to begin the trek back home and rebuild their lives may seem like fantasy, yet I challenge those who claim they rationally assume that the strike would “make things worse" to also concede that the strike could also make things better given that it’s now a hypothetical event.
As for us Syrians, we are all in agreement that what is happening at this very moment is the worst case scenario. Far worse than any predictions or wishes, and that doing something, anything, is better than nothing.
I’ll borrow and rephrase a quote from economist Henry Hazlitt in his book “Economics in One Lesson” in the context of exposing the shallow and hollow argument politicians use to justify their current policy of “doing nothing” in Syria and that supplying the FSA ” may make things worse”
“… but the tragedy is that, on the contrary, we are already suffering the long run consequences of the policies of the remote or recent past. Today is already the tomorrow which the bad
economists politicians yesterday urged us to ignore.”
Yours Sincerely, The Revolting Syrian.
My long rant is not worth the kilo-bytes used to create and process it on your laptop screen without asking, or begging you to help us do something to end this. You may not be able to convince Obama to carry out an ‘unbelievably small' strike, but I'm sure you can spare a dollar for a person who has lost everything in their life.
You can help the only major international medical organization, Doctors Without Borders, treat Syrians in clinics inside Syria. You can also provide 10 homeless Syrians with a tent, cooking equipment and clothing, all fit into a single box called Shelterbox.
Help one of the most efficient government-run charities, the Danish Refugee Council, help millions of refugees get by. A non-government affiliated charity, CARE, also operates in the refugee camps as well, you can help them here as well as the International Rescue Committee, whom you can help here.
You can also support a local, reliable and trustworthy Syrian charity by selecting one from the list found here. All are registered in the US, Europe and Turkey with open accounts and exemplary track records.
And finally you can help the United Nations Refugee Agency , despite their many shortcomings, help millions of Syrian refugees. They are by far the largest aid organization and have the widest reach.
All statistics of the dead complied from the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) from Aug 21, 2013 - to Sept 20, 2013. The VDC is considered the most conservative when counting the number of dead in Syria
*”Anti-War” is defined in this article as actual anti-war protesters, far left supporters, far right supporters, conspiracy theorists, neo-conservatives as well as Al Qaida sympathizers. Obviously all of the mentioned groups do not adhere to the same ideology nor do I accuse any one of supporting the other except on the sole topic of being apologists and supporters of the Assad regime.
** More than 700 of the dead have not been accounted for yet due to the hurried nature of burial and the fact that most of the dead were not identified and buried in mass graves. Most residents of Eastern and Western Ghouta agree that the actual death toll is closer to 1,400.
*** I will not discuss or include words such as “moderate” to describe the FSA. They are Syrians and Syrians by and large are moderate people, we do not need to label ourselves as such to prove anything to the world. 90% of the FSA defend their home towns & sleep in their own homes, if they have one left. The current battles with Assad is a highly localized fight. Just because Al Qaida is in Syria, does not mean we Syrians are “all terrorists” or “bad guys” now. Al Qaida and Assad are the “bad guys”. Prove to me otherwise.