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Acts of Madness

By: Emiliano Vazquez-Parrales, Section Editor for Student Voices, evazqu20@uic.edu

“They used to be seen as insane or unthinkable acts of madmen. But if they take place they’ll be called ‘war’ too. And there will still be no conventional war”.-Bruce Sterling


The Syrian Civil War has been the talk of the world since it first began three years ago.  It has been an awful bloody war that has to date claimed the lives of possibly over 130,000 Syrians, including combatants and non-combatants.  I say possibly only because, as of July 2013, the U.N.’s human rights office decided to stop updating the Syrian death toll because there are too many bodies to be verified accurately.

Recently, a report from a team of war crime prosecutors and forensic specialists revealed a massive grave site, where the bodies of 11,000 detainees of the Assad regime were found.  Many of these bodies showed signs of being tortured in unimaginable ways before the persons expired.

At this point in time the Syrian Civil War has become one of the worst humanitarian crisis of the new millennium.  It has been estimated that over 11,000 children have been killed in this crisis, while 2 million Syrian refugees seek asylum in the neighboring countries of Jordan and Turkey.  From what I have seen on the news, the refugee camps are vile places.  The refugees are forced to live on these camps if they wish to stay in the countries they fled to. However, they have no access to clean water, food, or, in some cases, shelter.  The camps are filthy and there are no preventive measures being taken to ensure that disease does not spread amongst the refugees. If it does, they have limited medical resources.  Certainly not enough to fight an epidemic if one were to break out.

Meanwhile, as this humanitarian crisis continues to progress, world leaders meet in Geneva to “discuss” the appropriate measures that need to be taken.  My question is: what is there to discuss?  Bashar al-Assad has already demonstrated to the world that he will not stop killing his own people, and will do whatever it takes to retain his seat of power.  The world leaders want to find a peaceful political resolution to this crisis, but as they sit on their butts in Geneva, the fighting continues to ravage the people of Syria.  At this point, I don’t even know how the Assad regime will begin to negotiate with the rebels, because even those factions are divided and fighting amongst themselves. This is causing even more unnecessary death and carnage.

The time for talk is over.  It was over the minute Assad used nerve gas on his own people, now is the time for action.  The way I see it, these peace talks are going to fail anyway, because these representatives are trying to mediate and play politics with war. War is not something that is organized, or easily controlled. Because war is the embodiment of chaos.

The U.S. believes itself to be some kind of great moral leader. This is the premise under which we even got involved in the Syrian Civil War.  We basically gave the rebels weapons and military support to fight the Assad regime, but now those weapons are being used to kill innocent civilians who do not want to be involved in this conflict.  If the U.S., no, if the world, really wants to help the people of Syria, then they need to send aid to the victims of this tragedy.  Food, water, medicine, personnel to ensure the safe transport of refugees and that they are being treated humanely.

It would cost a large sum of money and would require a lot manpower to handle a crisis this big, but instead, the U.N. and U.S. would rather avoid all that and hope that maybe talking to a madman will help resolve this conflict.  They believe that somehow in the end this will all work itself out.  That is just my speculation, of  course, but if they truly believe that, then they are just as insane Assad.

Please help the children of Syria by going to the UNICEF website and giving a donation of any size to help prevent this wonton violence against the most innocent victims of this conflict.

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