Long before the conflict began, many Syrians complained about high unemployment, widespread corruption, a lack of political freedom, and a state repression under President Bashar al-Assad. Pro-democracy protests erupted in march 2011. Many teenagers painted revolutionary slogans on school walls with which we are quite familiar in Kashmir. What happened next was heartrending, the killing of these peaceful demonstrators. By killing several, more took to the streets. The unrest triggered nation-wide protests demanding resignation of Assad. Government used excessive force to crush the dissent which merely hardened the protestor’s resolve.
There is limit to one’s tolerance. When life goes well, little is made of it. After all, we expect that things should work out in our favor. But when things go badly, we look for reasons. Change starts in your own head. New alternatives come into your mind. That is what Syrian people did – rebellion. Some took up arms against the Syrian government and security forces loyal to the president. In same breath, we do come across such people who speak on different occasions and circumstances or situations like Syria that, “gun is not a solution to any problem.” I strongly agree with them. The question then arises, “What is the solution to a problem with no solution? When the system leaves no option, then what can be the possible option.
It has become more than just a battle between those for or against Assad. A key factor has been the intervention of regional and world powers, including Russia, United States, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Their military, financial and political support for the government and opposition has contributed directly to the intensification and continuation of the fighting, and turned Syria into a proxy battleground. The Syrian people in the wildest of their dreams would have thought that their rebellion and battle with one man will turn into such a full-scale civil war. For different freedoms they will have to fight with different countries. That numerous will die, get injured and homeless.
This ongoing senseless carnage in Syria has taken my breath away and left me with a sense of sadness, utter dismay and shock. The wave of violence leaves one truly speechless, pushing everyday concerns and problems firmly into the background. At a standstill, I have a short message for the World Community:
“As the Syrians are living on the edge of their lives, always nervous, always afraid. Thousands have already died, thousands more will die. It is our privilege to work in the space domain, which does so much to promote a world without borders. We have a special responsibility in this regard. Don’t waste time. Come forward and save the rest, please! It’s high time to show humanity and provide international protection to Syrian people. Otherwise, it will be shameful for the entire world.
(Gowhar Naz studies Disaster Management at University of Kashmir and hails from Sogam Lolab. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org)