Dear IACS Community,
Every generation faces a humanitarian crisis. It was Bosnia and Rwanda in the 90’s, Darfur in the 2000’s, and this decade it is Syria. Though the events themselves change, one thing remains the same with all of those, our inability to act. We did nothing to stop them, and very little to help.
One of the things that defines us as humans is empathy. Which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When there is a natural disaster we feel empathy for the victims, though I was only six years old when Hurricane Katrina hit, I remember the outpour of help for the victims; we came together to help those in need. I remember the same happening for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Money, and support poured out from all over the world when these disasters struck.
We put aside our differences politically and socially and came together, in recognition of the human spirit and the suffering of others. Why is it we can show such great empathy for something we have no control over, but remain still over things we have the power to stop and control?
Syria is quickly becoming the greatest humanitarian disaster of the 21st century. We are seeing the greatest flow of migrants across Europe and the world since world war II. Yet we still remain, hesitant and debate whether we should help or not.
Syria is not inherently a political issue, it can be made into one and that is what many have chosen to do, but at its root it is a government committing mass murder and other war crimes against it’s people. We have stood idle as innocent civilians are killed and forced to flee their homes, we have decided to do nothing. We have seen the videos of innocent children gasping for air, following gas attacks by the Assad regime. The choice to do nothing is still a choice, and it is a choice that I am not willing to live with. I am not willing to watch innocent civilians die and do nothing about it. I am not okay with shutting our door to those in need.
And so we all have a choice, to continue to do nothing, or to do something. Though most of us are not able to go to Syria and help those victims in need, we can support those who are in Syria helping. The White Helmets are a group of volunteers who have become Syria’s first responders. They are those on the ground helping the victims of gas attacks, pulling victims from the rubble of destroyed buildings, and your donations help buy them equipment such as helmets and gas masks. Another organization you can donate to is the Syrian American Medical Society. Your donation helps support doctors on the ground, fund ambulances, and provide life saving medical supplies to those who desperately need it. The links to both of those organizations can be found below.
Thank you for your help,
Senior, Class of 2017