Summer of Hell in Syria

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

By Anne Woodhead

I have been following events of the revolutionary uprising in Syria with horror and frustration. The Arab Spring there has turned into the Summer of Hell. There have been 19,738 documented killings from March 18 through July 14 by the crowd sourced effort, Syria Tracker. Many children have even been victimized, killed and/or tortured according to the Facebook page, We Are All Hamza Alkhateeb, that is named after a thirteen year old boy who was tortured and killed by the government of Bashar al-Assad. The Women Under Siege Project, spearheaded by Gloria Steinem with Lauren Wolfe as director, has documented rape as a tool of this conflict. The International Committee of the Red Cross has now declared Syria to be engaged in a civil war. This means that humanitarian law applies with the rules of war and with the possible prosecution of war crimes.

Fighting that had mostly been in the outreaches of the country, is now taking place in the capital of Damascus. Events sort of came to a head on Wednesday, July 18 when the Syrian version of the Situation Room was bombed with senior officials killed and injured. This event is being seen as a turning point and maybe the beginning of the end.

It has been heart-wrenching to watch all this prolonged revolution-turned-civil war play out. The international community has been seemingly helpless, especially with Russia and China wielding vetoes in the United Security Council. Some have been calling for US-NATO intervention such as took place in Libya. However, according to RootsAction, the human rights situation in Libya is not too rosy now. I am sorry that the situation in Syria has become so violent. (There may be international actors contributing to this.) It seems to me that violence begets violence and that more violence begets more violence. I am reminded that both the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi and the Christian Apostle Paul said that we reap what we sow.

Analyst Phyllis Bennis has written that only diplomacy can stop the war. “The best thing outside powers can do is to move immediately towards serious new diplomacy,” she said, “ in which supporters of both the regime and the armed opposition participate, with the goal of imposing an immediate ceasefire.” Saying No to War in Syria, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate of Northern Ireland, wrote, “We should support those Syrians who work for peace in Syria and who seek a way of helping the 22 million or so people of Syria to resolve their own conflict without furthering the chaos or violence.”

Iara Lee has produced a documentary, The Suffering Grasses, which was filmed at the Syria-Turkey border. She has written:
"With the continued perseverance of the Syrian people, the fall of Bashar al-Assad is inevitable. But in order to ensure this outcome, they must transcend the confessional, political, economic, and ethnic boundaries that the Assad regime is so keen to use against them, and rise as a united whole. But perhaps most important of all is that they do so without resorting to the same violence that characterizes their opponent. The use of violence will represent a failure of the revolution and a victory for Bashar al-Assad and the false narrative he has created."

I am concerned about the aftermath of this conflict and the formation of a new country with a new government. I am praying for the Syrian people. May Human Rights, Justice, Freedom, and Peace Prevail!

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