The Children of Hell
Over the past three years, the news agencies have given us daily updates on the Syrian army’s onslaughts, massacres and bloodshed and on the armed opposition’s reaction against Bashar Assad’s regime. And the number of victims has continued to increase day by day. Last year, there was talk of over 100, 000 deaths; this year, the number of people this bloody war has sent to their graves is no longer spoken of. Compare this with Egypt, where relatively few people were killed before Mubarak stepped down under pressure from the people and was subsequently jailed and judged. Mohammad Morsi did the same; he is now in prison facing trial. And while Libya may have looked like hell after the fall of Gaddafi, in Tunisia, a single self-immolation was enough to ignite the explosion that sparked others throughout the Arab and Islamic world.
In Syria, though, the international community just keeps talking normally, saying let’s stop the war and end the hell in Syria via diplomatic means and sessions in Geneva2 as if it’s some new Hollywood action film that’s unfolding around them. But engage your humanity and your conscience as you take in the situation there, the violations of humans and their rights, and you’ll see Syria for what it is--a hell on earth unprecedented in the 21st century which the international community is intent on keeping exactly as it is. It should not be forgotten that Syria’s Baath regime shares the ideology of the toppled Baath Regime in Iraq, which created an even worse hell for Kurdish civilians in Southern Kurdistan in the mid Eighties when it bombarding Halabja and other areas with chemical weapons and launched the Anfal in which 182, 000 women, handicapped children and young men were lost in desert hells. Politically, ideologically and psychologically, the hells of the Syria of today and the Iraq of yesterday share the same underpinnings.
So you, the great powers of the world and of humanity, please spare a thought for Syria. I mean John Kerry and Lavrov, the foreign ministers of the US and Russia. Heed the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Mun, when he talks about the destiny of Syria’s innocent children, more than 10, 000 of whom have been killed in the war, and that without those that have gone missing. Heed the reports that say children are being sexually abused, too, as well as being exploited by the army and the militants and tortured using sticks and iron bars, with electronic shocks to their sensitive organs, with pulled out toe and finger nails, with sexual violence, abuse and threats, with imaginary sexual threats, with sleep deprivation, solitary confinement. Heed the reports of victims being tortured before their relatives’ eyes.
This hell is real. But still neither world power wants to admit to the hell the Syrian authorities have created against children, women and civilians. But there is still no determined drive to limit the crimes committed against children. Bashar Assad should be treated as a war criminal on the basis of the reports of people being starved as a political punishment, of torture and sexual abuse and other stories of imprisonment and revenge. Some radical groups also want to use children to fight the hell of the Syrian Regime, creating a smaller hell for children in the process.
What we need to ask if this: on what criterion is the international community basing its lack of response to these crimes against Syrian children in our era of democracy and human rights? Will those children be freed from this hell? And if they are, with how much anger will they view their own and their country’s future; how much anger will they feel for the international community? For when a generation is raised hating international policy, when a generation gets out of a living hell, it can only think of creating a still worse hell and of taking its revenge on the authorities, relationships, measures, principles and countries that aided the regime and fed into the current state of Syria.
For this is the future, because violence brings nothing but violence. So how long will the fires be allowed to blaze in the hell that is Syria, allowed to burn and bodies and souls of the Syrian children? For how long will world powers like the US, Russia, Iran and to some extent China allow these constant violations of human rights for the sake of political interest and maintaining the balance of power? Humanity is now faced with a moral decision: they must end this hell and punish the criminals in court. If Hollywood films can create violent children, the children of this Syrian hell will be a hundred times more violent. They must act soon if any hopes of preventing the violence are to be preserved.