By Gianni Risper
Revolution is a power the people holds over those they elect to lead them. When a person is elected to a position of power, the people put their trust in this person to decide how to make their lives simpler. If this power is abused, the praise that the elected official dissipates, quickly replaced by the anger of the people. What would happen if you wanted to take back your vote and the government stepped in and stopped you from taking it back? In this country we take small human and civil liberties such as this for granted. No American would expect to be met with an assault rifle as they freely spoke their mind in peaceful protest. This is not true for most of the people around the world, especially those surrounded by conflict in Syria.
In the midst of a civil war, civilians fear for their lives as mortar shells rain fire upon the city streets. A man you once thought to be your friend, now looks at you with murderous intent. Brother is killing brother in cold blood as all sense of safety leaves you. According to the BBC, in early 2011 peaceful protests began in Damascus, Syria’s capitol, to end the reign of President Bashar al-Assad. These protesters were accosted and detained by government forces, only adding to the thousands already detained for political crimes. These transgressions against civil liberties have outraged the world at large and institutions such as the United Nations are taking actions against the Syrian government to qualm this unrest. I feel these actions should be considered worldwide problem by all governments who have the power to act against these outrages. Our world leaders need to hold their peers to higher standards but this is not the first time the world has shunned a Syrian leader.
Many different factions have led the Syrian government over the 65 years it has been an independent republic. The most recent figure to hold political power in Syria is President Bashar al-Assad, the position handed down to Bashar by his father, General Hafez al-Assad. Coup after coup bloodied the sands of Syria as power shifted hands, until 1970, when General Hafez al-Assad plotted to overthrow the government with a group of officers. Successfully seating himself at the top, Hafez become a leader of country in turmoil. Over 30 years later and history is repeating itself with his son, President Bashar, who is under coup from his very own people. Syria lies in ruin due to the failings of men and their lust for power.
The hands of Syria’s leaders have been drenched in the blood of their own people and by those hands they have forced atrocities upon those same people that you and I could not even imagine. Syrians have not only been killed in their own streets but also forced from their homes. According to Peter Kessler, spokesman for U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, said “the number of people who have lost their homes or been forced to flee has reached 6.2 million - including almost two million who have crossed the border into neighboring countries.” These people losing their lives are not just soldiers but mothers are losing children, wives are losing their husbands and death still rains down. In August of 2013, the Syrian government was accused by the world of using chemical gas warfare on its own people. Killing almost 1,500 people, this attack by the Syrian government was denied by President Bashar causing the rest of the world to call for action.
After Afghanistan, Syria has the highest amount of refugees in other countries, almost 500,000 people detached from their lives. Those people who have left everything behind are paralleled in those who have been reduced to nothing and remain within the countries borders, which number around the same. Almost 5,000 people leave Syria each day and the borders of nearby countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, are swelling with the massive amount of disenfranchised people making an exodus out of Syria. Jordan’s population has grown 8% with amount of Syrians flocking to their doorstep, reaching out for a helping hand. Even with the help of the world the situation is still failing and in turn those countries taking in flocks of Syrians are facing their own issue. Such a large-scale operation requires massive amounts of funding, a cause which countries around the world have donated millions to, but it is still not enough. With all the help Syrians have received, money is only the first solution to a laundry list of problems.
Americans pride themselves on our freedoms. They are the backbone of our nation and it is maintained in our society that these freedoms make us great. These Syrians fight for the rights we are born into, for the basic human right of the freedom of expression. This was only the tipping point to cause civil unrest as the situation comes to a head with government shutdown of freedom of expression. Any one of us would fight for what they believe. Should we be massacred for revolting against the institution that cannot lead us? This is the question being asked by the people of Syria and the people of the world. Our leaders are the only ones who can stop this situation from erupting into further chaos and we must look to them to remove the clouds on Syria’s horizon.
This article was printed on November 3 - November 16, 2013