Are Syrian lives worthless?


Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 05 April 2017| 07 Rajab 1438

While an aid conference on the future of Syria was due to begin today, in Idlib an airstrike killed at least 58 people, mostly children, and the cause appears to be Sarin gas.

Idlib has been targeted numerous times by the Assad regime and its ally Russia, as well as by the US-led coalition against Daesh because it is almost entirely controlled by Al-Qaeda-linked group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham.

Both Russia and Syria have denied playing a role in the chemical attack, though eyewitness accounts in Khan Sheikoun state the airstrikes were carried out by Syrian or Russian jets.

Local clinics treating survivors were also attacked by rockets fired from aircrafts moments after the chemical attack.
The history of chemical attacks on the Syrian people dates back decades to when Bashar Al-Assad’s father, Hafez, used this means of warfare to quash opposition in Hama and continues today.

Today’s attack brings into question whether the main criterion of an attack being labelled “terrorism” depends on the location where it took place, who the victims were and what the political interests of the actors involved are. This could be the only explanation why the international community keeps its eyes closed to events like the one in Khan Sheikoun or the one in west Mosul, the latter taking place just after the Westminster attack in London.

The media, together with most of the talking heads that appear in debates straight after an incident happens, have become terrorism’s strongest supporters. A regular crime does not have the emotional impact of a terrorist incident that gives the media the opportunity of greater coverage and debate and allows us the opportunity to stigmatise, judge and blame without trying to understand first.

We have been looking for the extraordinary in every attack and connecting it to one organisation or the other has become our greatest aim as we blame everything on the “others”. The dialogue of our multicultural and globalised societies has been divided into the rhetoric of “us” and “them” when most of us might have trouble to understand what these two pronouns stand for.

In a similar manner, the location of the incident seems to have great importance as anything that happens within our borders tends to be of utmost importance, whereas events which take place elsewhere are treated with indifference.

Has anyone drawn a parallel between the Westminster attack and the 500 civilians that were killed in west Mosul by “an unfortunate” mistake which has still not officially been claimed by the US coalition? Or between the St. Petersburg bomb attack and the civilians killed by chemical weapons today? Let me spare you the trouble and answer my own question: When it is about us, it is important and we have to stand together against the “enemy”, but when it is about “them” – they are just collateral damage; numbers.

Our double standards make our hearts tremble with sadness and fear every time something happens anywhere that we define as close to us, to the places that we call home, to the fake order of our societies, but we show no regret for the “other”.

I have learned that our world has become so inter-connected that any action that we undertake can affect people and places that we never think of, and every event in any corner of the world affects us whether we are aware of it or not.

As soon as we realise this, we might start to understand that there is no difference in value between a life here and a life there. We all share the same dreams, have the same hopes and fight the same fears.

We have allowed ourselves be manipulated by the cheap rhetoric of “us” and “them” and so a vicious circle has been playing out.

Source – MEMO