Horrific, tragic and heartbreaking are some of the words being used to describe what is going on in Syria.
With today’s interconnected world, we cannot ignore the terrific images of towns being leveled, children dying and people in the streets screaming, “United States help us. United Nations help us.”
After the Holocaust, the world community said, “Never again,” and we have had Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur since then.
Here we are again, faced with an ongoing genocide brought about with guns, bombs and chemical weapons.
It is sad that we, as a country, only take note of another country when the United States debates taking military action.
It would be refreshing if we were naturally interested and informed about our fascinating world, with countries rich in culture and history, other than when it is drummed up in the mainstream media.
The Syrian crisis is an extremely interesting and relevant international relations case to look at.
The crisis has many elements, and all require historical context.
Syria has an unnatural border created by a colonizing power, and various religions, ethnic and cultural conflicts.
There are tensions between Russia and the United States that may indirectly involve Israel and Iran.
A sectarian clash in Syria between Sunni and Shia members and radical elements in the opposition, such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah add to the situation.
There are concerns of destabilization in neighboring countries, all while the role of the United Nations is disputed.
Chemical weapons are present. The question of when and if the international community should intervene in the affairs of a sovereign nation remains debatable.
Syria is now requesting formal membership to The International Chemical Weapons Convention, an organization with the mission statement of elimating the production, acquisition, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons.
All of these elements are on top of the fact that this is the Middle-East, with all its complex culture, religion, economic and political environment. The matter of when a US president can act militarily overseas without Congress and the War Powers Act remains disputed by a war-weary nation longing for diplomacy.
Some argue a preferable interest to focus and re-build America.
What we should find compelling and unforgivable is that if we fail to show we care on a human level.
With more than 93,000 dead and 2 million refugees, how can we idly stand by, especially as Christians?
Even if you consider the politics, one remembers the parable of the good Samaritan.
Reliable development organizations, many of which are Christian, have responded in compassion for the people in this tragic situation by doing important work.
We are planning to host an I AM SYRIA event on campus in October with World Compassion to show recent footage with information on how people are helping.
Please feel free to join us.