Half the population is displaced. More than 4 million people have become refugees abroad.
The capital city is struggling without water.
Hundreds of thousands are dead. A generation of children is shut out of the classroom. There is destruction on a monumental scale. A civil war continues to rage and ISIS is still holding territory.
Such is the state of Syria as President Barack Obama gets outlasted by the leader whose departure he called for in 2011, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As it turned out, the time had not yet come for Assad to step aside in 2011, as Obama famously stated, and it remains decidedly unclear when that moment will arrive.… Seguir leyendo »
How do you monitor a skeleton of a city bereft of its citizens, who have been bused out after seeing their homes bombed to pieces by barrel bombs from the Syrian regime and bunker busters from their Russian supporters?
And what will be left to watch when — and if — the monitors ever arrive?
In the best-case scenario, the United Nations observers in Aleppo may find out.
In a rather realistic one, the world will never know.
At long last, the United Nations Security Council has been able to agree on something.
That something is the monitoring of the evacuation of the children and parents, men and women left alive in Aleppo, after the siege of their city — starved on the ground, bombed from the sky and sealed in without any refuge or non-lethal path to escape — grew inhuman enough to prick the world’s conscience and puncture its longstanding indifference to Syria’s carnage.… Seguir leyendo »
«The duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with the State, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty.»
The United Nations said that in 2005 about its «responsibility to protect.» It’s the concept that «if a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations.»
And here is what UN officials said this week when describing what is happening in Syria: «A complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo.»
Apocalyptic images of a once-vibrant historic city now reduced to an emaciated shadow of its former self have played out for the world to see.… Seguir leyendo »
Sameera Allam says her heart breaks when she thinks about her teenage son, who goes off to work each morning doing whatever job he can get to help support his family.
In Syria, he went to school.
But that was before the war. And before her family was forced to flee violence in Aleppo for the safety of Turkey. The Syrian conflict — now on the verge of its sixth year — has stripped them of their home, their livelihood and their country.
Her son cries each day and tells her he just wants to get back to his studies.
«What do you do when your son cries and says he wants to go to school?» I asked her at a community center run by the Turkish NGO Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants in Gaziantep, Turkey, a half-hour’s drive from the Syrian border.… Seguir leyendo »
One evening last month, a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up on the steps of the auditorium of the French cultural center in Kabul. The target was a crowd of Afghans and expatriates gathered to watch a play titled «Heartbeat: Silence after the Explosion.» The show was written as a condemnation of suicide bombings.
«Pieces of flesh were plastered on the wall. There were children and women crying for help,» said one civil society activist who spoke with Reuters just after the suicide attack.
A Taliban spokesman claimed the group was responsible for the attack, and said the play was targeted because it was being performed «to insult Islamic values and spread propaganda about our jihad operations, especially on suicide attacks.»
Sadly, for too long it has been relatively easy for citizens of the United States and Europe to indulge in the «otherization» of this particular brand of extremist horror.… Seguir leyendo »
«All around me my friends were lying injured and dead.»
These are not the confessions of a battle-hardened soldier who signed up to fight in his nation’s war. They are the words of a 15-year-old boy lying in a hospital bed in Peshawar, Pakistan, after Taliban militants attacked his school in an act of savagery so bloody and brazen it seized the attention of a world grown nearly indifferent to the barbarism vying regularly for its attention.
At a time of playground bombings in Syria, kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria, girls’ schools shuttered under threat in Afghanistan and conflicts descending into chaos in real time, the attack on the Pakistan’s Army Public School brought home once again the danger children face simply for the act of heading to school.… Seguir leyendo »
The world has devoted a great deal of diplomatic energy to securing Syria’s chemical weapons. It has yet to do the same for securing Syria’s children.
Their future is as important for international security and stability, even if the consequences of inaction will take far longer to be seen and felt.
The war in Syria between the government of Bashar al-Assad and forces opposed to him has ground on for more than two years and claims new victims each day. More than 100,000 have been killed. Starvation has become a gruesome reality, with a religious leader now saying it is OK to eat cats and dogs given the lack of much of anything else.… Seguir leyendo »
One year ago, Taliban gunmen in Pakistan boarded a school van and shot Malala Yousafzai, then 15, for speaking out for girls’ education. Malala survived the tragedy, and her courageous story of a teenage girl who would not be silenced inspired tens of millions more in the fight for girls’ rights.
As Malala said in July during her historic address at the United Nations, «I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.»
And as the world marks International Day of the Girl on Friday, it is worth remembering all those young girls, the same age as Malala and some even younger, whose voices go unheard: the millions of child brides around the world robbed of their youth and their rights, including the chance at education.… Seguir leyendo »