Turmoil in Syria- How it began, how the U.S. is prepared to step in, and how AHN can help


Photo Credit: Andrew Parsons/MCT

In places like Azaz camp, thousands of displaced Syrians have to make a home out of tents.

Sadly, human rights and the quality of life for Syrians have been deteriorating for decades. However, more recently, civil war has raged for the past two years. But how did it all start?

In 2011, fifteen schoolchildren were arrested in the Syrian city of Daraa for writing anti-governmental slurs as graffiti on the walls of a school. The children were arrested and word spread like wildfire that they were allegedly mistreated while in custody. Fury and outrage grew, inspiring massive protest.

During one of the protests, security forces opened fire and killed four protestors. These four deaths were called the first deaths of the Syrian civil war. Thus, more and worse protests were born.

Soon after the first protest incident, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a speech to government officials, called the protestors “conspirators”, whose mission was to spread unrest. His condescending remarks and the great support his lawmakers provided him only continued to upset the people. Only two short days after al-Assad’s speech, anti-government protests spread throughout Syria. The war was underway.

Inspired by the Syrian government’s labels of the protestors as terrorists, Syrian rebels have vowed to stop at nothing until al-Assad is out of power.

But why and more importantly how is the U.S. prepared to get involved? The U.S. is one of the most powerful nations in the world with the strongest military in the world. We have a responsibility to protect less powerful nations in need and to protect ourselves.

This week, United Nations investigators confirmed to the White House that the Syrian regime was using chemical weapons against their own people. This is where the U.S. comes in. The use of chemical weaponry is not only heinous and an obvious threat to Syrians, but also an international threat.

This past Tuesday during a press conference, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked, “…This is about the large scale indiscriminant use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all. A conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed that U.S. forces are “ready to go”  if President Obama gives the order to attack; So now we wait.

Surprise attacks with the use of chemical weapons on defenseless men, women, and even children are almost unimaginable. How could some people who live in a world intended for good, be so evil?

During this difficult time, we as Academy students should take this opportunity to recall our SNJM values. Specifically, dedication to women and children, dedication to justice, service to people who are poor or marginalized, and commitment to liberating action. Could you imagine living in a place in which you were not respected as much as men and were being brutalized by chemical warfare? We must pray for our government’s dedication to justice, service to people in need, and commitment to liberation in their attempts to help Syria.

As we embark on our holiday weekend in which we enjoy our free and prosperous nation, we must keep the Syrian people in our prayers during this tragic time of persecution.