On Thursday, April 6th, the US NAVY- under President Donald Trump’s order launched 59 Tomohawk missiles at an airbase in the Province of Homs, Syria.
The air-strike follows a chemical gas attack, largely believed to have been ordered by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and consistent with years of other human rights violations waged against his own civilians.
Syrians have been suffering and living under the constant cloud of genocide and retaliation for years now. Many of us have been insulated enough to have watched this horror on our computer and tv screens for years with indifference.
Yet we claim we love them.
One American political party in particular has adopted an extreme, anti-Muslim immigrant/ anti-refugee policy.
But now that their President has ordered a missile attack-
we claim it’s because we love them.
In the aftermath of these attacks and in America in particular, many conversations about the Syrian tragedy have become overwhelmed by a battle of who loves the Syrians more?
Is it the Republicans whose bigoted disease of pure-white nationalism launch missiles of regime change? Or is the Democrats who hilariously wag their fingers at the war-hungry G.O.P. despite the fact that many Democrats voted for Hilary Clinton, a presidential candidate whose rhetoric and political history are even more war-hawkish than the inept and vindictive Donald Trump?
The times we live in are extremely politically divisive.
So much so that our blind allegiance to political groups and to our favorite political personalities are much more responsible for the shaping of our conscience than facts or a basic moral code.
This stubborn, political loyalty that begets ignorance plagues both Democrat and Republican voters. It’s the reason why Republican voters claim to care about worker’s rights but continue to unwittingly vote for a party that opposes labor unions and a raise in the minimum wage.
Our tendency to worship personalities over principles is the reason why Democratic voters ignore the pro-corporate/oligarchy stances of Corey Booker, Tim Kaine, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama- yet somehow still protest against wealth inequality.
Blind ideology is why Fox News viewers are compelled by trashy “birther” theories and why MSNBC viewers think that Chris Matthews is an actually a balanced reporter.
At the end of the day, all we end up serving are our own egos.
The ones who are failed in the process are the ones who deserve our clarity of conscience the most; the Syrians.
Situations like the chemical attacks in Syria and the American missile strike that followed them are moments that deserve deep solemn thought outside the noise of raving political fandom and bias.
In Syria, innocent people are dying.
Sons who are just as rambunctious as yours.
Grandmothers who are just as sweet as yours.
They have been terrorized, tortured and murdered for the last 6 years of the Syrian war and they deserve to be more than reduced to a soundbite or a witty, trending tweet.
If we really care at all about helping our Syrian brothers and sisters, then we need to be responsible enough to ask ourselves some serious questions so that we may reveal to ourselves exactly who we really are and what are our values are outside of the influence of deceitful corporate media and wishy-washy political leaders.
I earnestly ask that you take a day or 2 away from the insanity of social media and the intentional bias of corporate media (FOX,CNN,MSNBC,ABC, NYTIMES, NY Post, etc ), take a breath, clear your mind, open your heart and ask yourself the following questions.
1. How would you feel if your hometown of (fill in the blank), America were
bombed and gassed by your local leaders- your significant other, parents, children and friends all murdered?
2. How would you feel if other Presidents and world leaders chose to intervene or ignore your suffering based on their own political & financial agendas and not based on ethics?
3. In Syria, what should our response be?
4. Is it possible to increase peace by using acts of violence?
5. If military and aggression and war aren’t the answer to combat a merciless tyrant like Assaad, then what is?
Syria isn’t the only country engulfed in genocide.
Citizens of Sudan, Ethiopia, Burma, & The Democratic Republic of Congo continue to live under the constant cloud of mass murders.
6. Why have we not leant as much aide and effort to them?
7. Why do we empathize with certain victims while turning a blind eye to others?
8. What makes certain innocents worth defending and others worth ignoring?
Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising & civil war in 2011, an estimated 207,000 civilians have been killed; 47,000 of whom are women and children.
8. How many innocent lives murdered are enough for us to finally decide to intervene?
The U.S. under the leadership of Barack Obama and now Donald Trump is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilian casualties at the hands of their drones strikes and other practices of excessive militarism.
9. Should our leaders be subject regime change the way we’ve advocated for Qaddafi in Libya and now Assad in Syria?
10. Considering the very complicated political situation in the middle-east, America’s strange and strained relationship with Russia, is it possible that America’s intervention had less to do with doing the right thing and more to do with political posturing?
12. Are all of God’s children precious to me or does my outrage only endure for as long as my attention span and convenience allow it to be?
Even in these uncertain times, I still hold out the hope that if we all free our minds from the prejudices that enslave us, that our souls, hearts and effective political engagement will follow.