Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

February 27, 2014

PUBLIC FORUM: Realizing how good we Americans have it

Realizing how good we Americans have it

During the holidays, I took a quiet moment to peruse the numerous greeting cards we received. They were all decorated with scenes of beauty and tranquility, composed with words of hope and peace. We gathered with our loved ones in the shelter of comfortable homes, our hearts were warm in the serene fellowship, and we indulged in the bounty of our tables — blessings we take for granted that in other parts of the world can’t even be imagined.

Peace in the Middle East seems as transient as that proverbial wish upon a falling star. I felt a pang of conscience as I considered my own relative peace and security, and how oblivious we can be to suffering when it is not our own.

The civil war in Syria has raged for nearly three years. Of the 130,000 now dead, many are innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. Over 2,000,000 people have fled their homeland and inhabit squalid refugee camps. Those civilians who remain find shelter in the rubble, and scrounge for sustenance. After the Holocaust, many vowed such a thing would never happen again. Not alone in our sin of negligence America knew well the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the brutal suppression of suspected communists in Indonesia, the genocides in Africa, and it took years to discover the only alternative in Yugoslavia was intervention.

It is not my place to decipher our government’s reluctance for another complicated confrontation, but my moral outrage challenges the free world to call a spade what it is. Bashir al Assad is a war criminal. He no longer deserves legitimacy or negotiation, and anyone who supports him is complicit in his crimes. That holds true for the foreign fighters of al Qaeda, the ISIS, and the in-state radicals of al Nasra. They all represent the continued suppression of individual liberty.

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