I’m sure some of the students here at Orange don’t feel the need to pay attention to political events happening around the world, but with all of the media coverage of refugees, wounded children and a mass exodus on T.V. and social media, many people may be wondering: what exactly is happening in Syria? There’s a lot to cover, so let me break it down for those who don’t know.
The worst of it started back in 2011, when the Syrian government used extreme, unnecessary brutality and force against peaceful Syrian protestors. The protestors saw the revolutions of other countries, like Egypt, which challenged the harsh rule of dictatorships-and decided to do the same. The government retaliated by secretly executing activists, but this quickly escalated to the kidnapping, torturing, raping and murder of rebels and their families, according to the Washington Post.
The dictator in charge of the assaults on his innocent civilians is Bashar Hafez al-Assad, but we’ll call him Assad for short. Assad’s father Hafez al-Assad, the former Syrian president/dictator, dealt with similar problems with uprisings in the 1980s. Hafez was responsible for murdering thousands of his own people, some who were not even associated with the revolution.
His goal was to terrorize and slaughter the Syrian people so they would stop trying to revolt. And his plan worked. Now it seems as if Assad is trying to follow in his father’s footsteps, but it’s not going as smoothly as he might have hoped.
As much as Assad wants to diminish this civil unrest and return Syria to its completely authoritarian state, the people who live there and value their freedom feel otherwise. The people of Syria have more than a couple different views on how to handle this civil war.
Over 4.5 million people have left Syria with their families to escape almost certain death. Most have gone to neighboring countries, others to Europe, and now many are trying to come to the United States, according to BBC. Then there are those who have stayed to fight against the all- oppressive government, along with members from Islamic State and jihadists, who usually have their own separate agenda-one that doesn’t involve gaining independence and political freedom for the people of Syria.
But just as there are political problems in Syria, there are humanitarian ones as well. The people, who have had no choice but to evacuate from their once content neighborhoods, are now living on the streets in beyond inadequate shelters. “
Syria is now the world’s biggest producer of both internally-displaced people and refugees,” according to UNICEF. These refugees and especially their children are at risk of disease during the winters and have witnessed horrific events from the Syrian civil war, leaving them scarred both physically and emotionally. These people, who once had normal everyday lives, are now without proper food, housing, clothing, healthcare, jobs and education.
Although it may seem like we cannot help from all the way in Lewis Center, OH, there are still ways in which we can give aid and support to the Syrian refugees.
You can donate money that goes toward providing food, water, clothing and other supplies for the Syrian people and their children. There are also charity programs that take volunteers to build houses for the Syrian refugees coming to Ohio, according to 10tvNews. By contacting worldreliefcolumbus.org, you can become a volunteer.
They’re struggling for survival on the outskirts of countries where they’re considered strangers. It only takes a few people to log on in order to make a difference.