I have spent the day going through waves of intense sadness as I, like millions others, witnessed the atrocities playing out through the streets of eastern Aleppo become front page world news. We live in an era where media is fast paced, and a world where nothing goes undocumented. As a by-product of these times, we must now face harsh truths head on, and there is nowhere to hide when images of sheer devastation bombard our senses through our TV screens and our mobile devices, as the hairs on the back of our necks prick up and our tear ducts fill.
But none of this, not one single photograph of blood strewn corpses on the streets nor one solitary video plea from desperate civilians begging for support, can even bring us close to the harrowing scenes that the people of eastern Aleppo now call their reality.
Can you imagine for a second, what it must feel like to record a video of yourself and post it to the world, all the while being quite aware that it may very well be your last? In the last 24 hours there have been 82 innocent men, women and children, shot on sight by Assad’s soldiers, as they crash their way through bombed city streets, going door to door and all the while blockading those attempting to flee and essentially sealing their fate.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
The events that have unfolded over the past few days are not just a culmination of fighting in Aleppo, they are severe continuation of a stark crisis which has gripped Syria for the past five years. To our knowledge there are four main parties operating within Syria and they all aim to exact full control over the nation in whatever way possible. These four are the Syrian Rebels, Assad’s regime, ISIL and Rojava.
Rojava control most of the north, ISIL control large swathes of central and eastern Syria, the Government (Assad’s regime) control the far west and conveniently all of Syria’s coastal line and the rebels are predominantly scattered between Government controlled areas and ISIL’s strong holds. It’s worth pointing out at this juncture that Assad’s government is heavily backed by Russia who have systematically (and rather un-systematically) dropping bombs on Syria for the better part of a year now.
It’s also worth noting at this point that by default, despite the current emphasis on an approaching re-ignition of the Cold War between the US and Russia, the pair of nations are already waged in a massive proxy-war, with Syrian civilians playing the role of helpless pawns in an extremely volatile game of chess. With the United States’ CIA funding the rebels and the Kremlin backing Assad to the hilt, it’s difficult to see how Russia and the US aren’t indeed, de facto, fighting against one another.
So why is nothing being done to cease the killing of innocent civilians? Well that’s a question which I and many others have been crying out for most of today and also in the years leading up to this – including when Assad ordered that Chlorine Gas be dropped on his own people, killing at least three children in the process and admitting hundreds into hospital with seizures and frothing of the mouth. A fact which, by the way, was proven to be undeniably true by the UN earlier this year.
Here we have catastrophic evidence of war crimes being committed within the country of Syria and what happens? The answer you are looking for here is, nothing. In fact the only nations to fully support either side of the Syrian war were both Russia and Iran – who elected to fight alongside Assad and add to the misery of all those who were suffering enough to begin with.
I think what upsets me the most about what is taking place before our very eyes in Syria is that I personally feel utterly helpless. There is nothing which I can say or do which would have an impact, and this is a sentiment faced with just about every single person around the globe who is shaken to the core by scenes that are being brandished across the internet and on our news channels.
Without getting too embroiled in conspiracy theories, there is a strong undertone that presents itself, and this is whereby the Syrian conflict doesn’t pose enough of a threat to western interests to warrant any involvement, and so with that, collectively we turn a blind eye to what is happening. The very idea of this disgusts me and it can be seen mirrored also in countries such as The Philippines where their murderous president has executed over 5,100 individuals related to drug crimes – many of whom were deemed to actually be innocent. That same president has also wavered all murder charges which could otherwise be inflicted on Filipino police officers, whilst they are carrying out their execution duties. Much like the shocking scenes in Syria… nothing happens. At best, we hear that the UN is “deeply concerned”.
So as you lay in bed tonight just think about what’s going on in the world around you and know that all is not how it seems. It’s on us to put pressure on our respective governments to do more in order to help those who are currently helpless.