The Syrian Civil War has been going on since March 15, 2011. That is over 5 years and 9 months that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting with opposition groups who want to overthrow his harsh rule. It has been a long, hard battle, not the least of which has tragically killed thousands of innocent people in its wake.
The very sad and heartbreaking part of this war is not really the war itself, but the innocent people who are losing their lives because of the selfishness of world leaders. Behind all the politics of Syria’s civil war are vulnerable children — millions of them — who don’t deserve this kind of existence.
If Aleppo were our city, we would not stand by and let bombs and artillery fire drop on our hospitals and homes. We would not allow leaders in other countries to unleash hell and fury on our citizens.
If Aleppo were our city, we would protest, march, petition and fight against such atrocities and injustices. Injustice in Syria stains every part of the world. A lack of freedom in Aleppo is a lack of freedom in every single city.
If Aleppo were our city we would never let already injured children die on the floors of hospitals or in the arms of their grieving parents or in refugee camps. Thousands of children would never be living under siege.
If Aleppo were our city, whole families would not be running for their lives, unable to find rest or peace, food or clean water in their own country. Just imagine being under attack 24/7. “Nowhere to go. When every minute of life feels like death.”
If Aleppo were our city, thousands of civilians would not be trapped in their own country, hiding out in their own homes, shaking with fear and uncertainty, and being bussed away like strangers in a strange land.
If Aleppo were our city, our hearts would hurt. If we had to cry out for help to a world that seems to be deaf and blind, we would feel helpless. We would be outraged that over 4000 years of effort and sweat that went into building a city is being torn apart completely within the span of five years.
If Aleppo were our city, we would not just draw red lines, we would enforce them. We would not stick with plans that are complete disasters and adversarial to the good of common people. We wouldn’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, or to bring people together in some sort of weak ceasefire, and then when things go horribly wrong, act like we’re angry and then sit back and do nothing.
If Aleppo were our city, we would pull out all the stops to end this tragedy. We would not stand by while innocent people are made to feel less than human, like they don’t belong to humanity. Abandoned. Betrayed. Massacred.
We have had the Holocaust. We have had Rwanda. We have had Darfur. And we have had Srebrenica. At each tragic point of history, at least some people, stood up in this world and demanded that we never see such atrocities again. Enough was enough then. And enough is enough now.
But if Aleppo were our city, we wouldn’t just say “never again”. We would act like we don’t want this to happen ever. This means we don’t have the right or the time to sit on our hands and do nothing. It is not enough to watch our TV sets and shake our heads.
Our world leaders need to act because it is our duty, it is our responsibility. The people of Aleppo are just as much our government’s responsibility as they are the responsibility of the government of their own country. But things like this happen when people in power get selfish and set out to prove a point that in the end accomplishes the agenda of no one but their own.
If we don’t stand up and demand that these atrocities in Aleppo end immediately, the blood of those innocent civilians whose lives have been robbed from them will be on our hands. And the cries of those dying children and their grieving mothers will be ringing in our ears for time immemorial.
Because if Aleppo were our city, we wouldn’t just say “never again”, we would act like we mean it.