The Live Streamed Genocide.
Yesterday, at 7:30am, I found myself waking up to the thought of the current tragedy taking place in Syria, more specifically Aleppo. To be honest, I had a vague idea of what was going on but not enough; and not knowing exactly what was going on after seeing these brutal images, I felt compelled — almost like a moral duty — to find out more. Why am I seeing children and women dying, hospitals being bombed and innocent civilians being executed? This is what I learnt from a morning of research.
I’m not going to pretend I’m really knowledgeable on this topic and neither is this an extensive overview of events but if you see any mistakes, please educate me.
The battle of Aleppo (the biggest city in Syria, with a population of 2.5 million), started in 2011/12. Aleppo is described as Syria’s ‘commercial capital’ and the most multicultural city in Syria with a mix of Kurds, Iranians, Turkmen, Armenians and Circassians. A place where churches and mosques once shared space.
In 2011, protests against the presidency of Bashar al-Assad, as well as protests in favour of his presidency began. This inevitably lead to friction between the government and the people and this friction birthed rebel fighters. These rebels stayed with civilians, often time these people had no choice. Assad felt this uprising was engineered through foreign ideology and ultimately, felt they had a duty to get rid of what they saw to be a ‘disease’.
Assad, wanting to rid of these rebels, gained help from Russia in the form of air power and weaponry. Assad’s vicious, demonic and aggressive tactic has led to War crimes being committed, a horrific arsenal of weaponry has been unleashed (including barrel bombs, cluster bombs, chlorine gas shells and thermobaric weapons) upon his own nation leading to hundreds and thousands of its people dying.
America has a role in this too: The US Congress agreed to a $500million programme to train ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels, which they eventually scrapped because inevitably it went wrong. CIA operatives distributed assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and other ammunition to opposition groups in Syria. The first group of trainees largely disbanded soon after they were sent into combat; some were captured or killed, while others fled. This created more chaos, as the same opposition groups were torturing civilians, keeping them captive and murdering them.
These civilians have nowhere to run. They run from the rebels. They could run into government forces, who have no moral compass. Run from those forces into rebel hands and they aren’t held accountable either. Attempt to leave Syria for refuge in other countries you could get shot by either rebels or government forces.
After what I learnt that morning, I felt I had to gather more information. I felt more empathetic towards what is going on. I attended the #Youth4Aleppo protest. I had to get more information.
After experiencing Black Lives Matter protests in the summer, I knew what the power of solidarity felt like and I had to be out there supporting our cousins. This was the first protest I attended that wasn’t about BLM, yet I felt very similar emotions; just the pain of innocent families being killed, civilians being caught in the crossfire... I teared. The beauty of protests is that even though you may be miles away from the source of the tragedy, protests make it feel closer to home. They make the suffering feel real, you can look around and see people crying, people angry.
When it comes to protesting, people often dismiss it as “ineffective”, or ask “what is the point?”. There is much more to a protest than trying to make political change. For me, it is also about expressing one’s emotion about a subject, similar to how you may paint to express pain even though it might not lead to anything. Letting out that hurt is a powerful thing and knowing you aren’t the only one feeling that way, makes you feel greater, makes you feel human.
This civil war has completely destroyed Syria, Aleppo. The once multicultural and most commercial city now limited to a place for war. I can’t believe this is happening, in 2016. The same place families used to sleep, are now bomb craters.
The same places kids used to run from school to home, to play some football, are now mazes of death. I look at those who have died, and they just look like our cousins, friends, siblings.. this is what hurts me.
As of today, Asaad has 99% of Aleppo under government control. Some liberated, many oppressed. It is scary that in today’s world, events like this can still happen. It feels like we have failed the people of Syria, we have failed democracy. Human rights are being violated and we are just watching. I’m tired of having to watch and just pray. This is live streamed genocide.
The world is watching.
Inshallah those alive still make it, I don’t pray often but you’re in mine.
If you would like to help, click donate:
More information here: https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Emergencyrescueappealaleppofamilies
Thank you for reading. For a more extensive overview, check: insidealeppo.com